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MTN SA Foundation congratulates 100 SMME and 100 teenage entrepreneur graduates

MTN’s sponsorship of the Sage Entrepreneurship Development programme culminated at three recent graduation events aimed at recognising 100 new SMME graduates and as many as 100 teenagers who successfully completed the programme.

For the first time the programme was scaled to a national level in 2021, with a total enrolment of 100 SMMEs nationwide. The programme runs for 12 months with a series of workshops, group training sessions, one on one mentorships and coaching. The interventions aim to develop and improve entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and business practices, for small businesses.

The MTN SA Foundation has been running these entrepreneurship programmes for xx years and continues to help grow South Africa’s SMME sector by providing skills for aspiring entrepreneurs and support for existing SMME businesses.

The annual Entrepreneurship Development Programme is run by the MTN SA Foundation in partnership with Hodisang Dipeu Holdings and the University of Free State and the Dream Development Hub A total of 100 entrepreneurs who were selected to take part in the programme, graduated from the courses at the beginning of December. For the first time, the programme was scaled to a national level in 2021, with a total enrolment of 100 SMMEs nationwide. It includes selected training courses that imparted skills like developing and drafting business plans. The programme earned entrepreneurs a level 5 National Qualifications Framework (NQF) certification.

“SMMEs and entrepreneurs are the engine rooms of economic growth so we are extremely proud to have played a role in helping drive support in this key sector, while also ensuring that South Africa can benefit from a healthy pipeline of young entrepreneurs with skills to contribute in this modern and digital age,” says Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager of the MTN SA Foundation.

“MTN believes in the power of technology to unlock opportunities and potential and so this programme is the perfect fit. It is aimed at promoting and developing entrepreneurial skills and sustainable business practices among targeted SMMEs who are in the ICT sector. A special focus is also placed on technology as a tool or enabler, which can be utilised to maximise business output,” says Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.

The SAGE programme, meanwhile, is a national 12-month knowledge and skills-based programme that exposes teenagers to the principles of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset. The programme also offers the teenagers an accredited NQF L5 course on New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Certificate with UFS school of business.

“The youth are our future, so it is important to provide support and mentorship so they can thrive and reach their dreams. This programme ensures students are mentored by trained program alumni who are available throughout the year to assist them with the program business requirements as well as other business-related queries,” says Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.

A highlight of the 2 December graduation ceremony hosted for 50 SMMEs that completed the 12-month business support programme offered in partnership with Hodisang Dipeu Holdings and the University of the Free State School of Business, was a talk by entrepreneur, Vusi Thembekwayo. Vusi is widely regarded as one of the most influential young Africans of the contemporary times and he shared practical advice for the businesses and entrepreneurs. SMMEs graduating in this programme came from the Free State, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal provinces.

“The MTN SA Foundation’s integrated approach to social investment, places a strong emphasis on community development and on-going measurement to ensure the delivery of meaningful, relevant and sustainable impact. We are pleased to see our support paying dividends and we wish these successful graduates every success as they embark on a new exciting chapter in their business lives,” concludes Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.

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