Top young entrepreneurs from around Gauteng were recognised for their excellent youth entrepreneurship development work last year.
Winile Secondary School from Germiston, Ponego Secondary School from Katlehong and Filadelfia Special School from Soshanguve were awarded cash prizes for their outstanding participation in the Eskom Simama Ranta schools competition.
Simama Ranta, which means “empowering the South African economy”, initiated by the Eskom Development Foundation in collaboration with the Education with Enterprise Trust (EWET), aims to identify and acknowledge South African secondary schools that are leading the way in education initiatives aimed at entrepreneurship. This, with the intention of encouraging learners to become employers rather than employees.
“The Winners Club”, representing Winile Secondary School, was announced as the provincial winner for Gauteng, receiving a R50 000 cash prize for their project.
The club was established in 2019 with a specialisation in woodwork, beadwork, and crocheted products, made from recyclable materials, which they sell to the local community.
“Why do we depend on government to solve the problem of unemployment? South Africa is ours. We have talent with which we can create employment. We are the ones who can change the economy of our country. We are job creators. There is nothing we cannot conquer,” said an elated Senamile Ngema, student at Winile Secondary School.
“We are really grateful to EWET and Eskom Development Foundation for all the support and encouragement. It was a great privilege to have taken part in the competition as we have seen our learners grow in entrepreneurship,” said an equally excited Charity Thwala, Deputy Principal at Winile Secondary School.
The profit and winnings made by the club will be used to build and purchase additional equipment and a space to work from. Some of the profit is used to meet the basic needs of distressed students. The club hopes to support a local charity soon.
Two other schools in the province were honoured. First runner-up, Ponego Secondary School, makes and sells chairs, ladders, bags and pillows, woollen scarves and bathing suits, as well as trays and bags from recycled materials. The second runner-up was Filadelfia Special School, a school for the disabled in Soshanguve. The school runs a successful vegetable garden and sells its produce to the school and the community at large. Each won R25 000 and R10 000 respectively for their projects.
Eskom Development CEO, Cecil Ramonotsi says that supporting this initiative was a no-brainer for the Foundation. “We are dedicated to building a healthy, educated and skilled population that is positive about the future of our country and empowered to live a fulfilled life. There is hardly a better way to achieve these objectives than by investing in entrepreneurship education and by providing support to young people in their own communities.”
EWET Vice Chairman Pontsho Makhetha said that the competition hopes to change the uncertain fate that young people are faced with. “These learners no longer need to be servants. Rather, they will become masters who create opportunities for others. “
The competition is open to South African intermediate and secondary schools that run entrepreneurship clubs that teach learners the basics of starting and running a business while also responding to the immediate communities’ social and economic needs.