The Eskom Development Foundation, in partnership with the Education With Enterprise Trust (EWET), hosted a prize-giving ceremony in celebration of excellent youth entrepreneurship education on Thursday, 8 March 2018 at Birdswood High School in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal. The ceremony was aimed at celebrating the province’s best performing schools in the 2017 Simama Ranta School Entrepreneurship Education Competition.
Birdswood High was named as the KwaZulu-Natal provincial winner of the competition, receiving a prize of R50 000. The first runner up is Aquadene Secondary School and second runner up is Ikhandlela Secondary School. The annual competition identifies and celebrates South African schools that are exemplars in entrepreneurship education. The competition encourages young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career.
Simama Ranta rewards the top three schools in each province as well as the overall national winner of the competition from 28 finalists. To qualify for the competition, intermediate and secondary schools must run enterprise clubs that teach their learners the basics of starting and running successful businesses through practical application while responding to their respective communities’ socio-economic challenges.
“Through this process I have learnt that all you need to be successful or to provide for your family is to believe in the ideas you have – everything is possible if you just believe in yourself and you need to take risks to be successful. As a YES Club we learnt that in starting a business you need to be a philanthropist and give back to your community – these are the same people who helped you on your journey,” says Nosipho Ndebele, YES Club member at Birdswood High School.
The prize-giving event was held to recognise the province’s young people and their contribution to socio-economic development and to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship amongst in-school youth. Millions of young employable South Africans are unemployed and the Eskom Development Foundation and EWET run this programme to empower the youth to actively participate in the economy.
“The learners participating are able to put the theory they’ve learnt from subjects such as Accounting to Business Studies, EMS and Tourism, into practice. They are enjoying their subjects even more and they are growing skills such as communication, bookkeeping, accounting, marketing and interpersonal relations. When they find themselves in leading positions in the business their self-esteem is also benefiting and they have better problem-solving skills as they deal with real customers, solving real problems. They are also becoming more creative as we encourage them to come up with unique ideas,” says Dudu Mngadi, YES Club Advisor at Birdswood High School.
Eskom KZN Operations and Zone Manager, Deon Boshoff, said it was important for young people to pay close attention to what they learn and how to start and run successful businesses should be amongst those skills. “Unemployment is a serious issue in our country and what is even more worrying is that it affects around 4 million of our youth. Young people should be economically active and helping build their families, communities and the economy,” said Boshoff.
The Eskom Development Foundation is tasked with implementing Eskom’s CSI strategy in sectors including enterprise development, education, healthcare, social and community development.