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South African learners celebrated at National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards

Corporate and public sector stakeholders, and young entrepreneurs from across South Africa gathered at a glittering celebration of the 2018 Step Up 2 A Start Up National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards, held last night at the Southern Sun, in Pretoria. The awards evening was the culmination of the six-month entrepreneurship development programme and competition targeted at 12, 000 secondary school learners and made possible by key sponsors.
Unemployment in South Africa is reaching epidemic proportions with data from Statistics SA noting that the youth from the ages of 15 to 34 in South Africa are sitting without jobs thereby contributing to a staggering 52.8 percent in the third quarter of 2018.
As part of the continent with the highest population of young people on the planet, South Africa must have a viable and sustainable solution to propel youth into job creation as opposed to adopting a job seeking mindset. Now in its fifth successful year, Step Up 2 A Start Up, the programme run by Primestars, has been identified as one such solution.
The annual Step Up 2 A Start Up is an invaluable national entrepreneurship initiative aimed at imparting knowledge the South African youth would not be ordinarily exposed to in their daily lives. “We are delighted to have been a part of the Step Up 2 A Start Up initiative again this year. 3M believes in encouraging the youth to think of themselves not just as job seekers, but as capital creators who are equipped with top-tier entrepreneurial skills and are innovative in their thinking,” says Devan Pillay, Managing Director for 3M South Africa.
Pillay reiterates that all businesses will need to play a role in shaping how the youth thinks, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because the position of the economy in South Africa increasingly demand these scarce skills.
Our Step Up 2 A Start Up programme teaches vital lessons in entrepreneurship, through edutainment. Each year the programme focusses on global trends in entrepreneurship, seeking to inspire participants to explore these in the context of their surroundings- looking for business solutions to real problems in their communities, says Martin Sweet, Managing Director, Primestars.
At the cinema, learners received a toolkit which reinforced the lessons communicated throughout the movie. The toolkit assists learners in implementing the skills learned and developed their own business ideas and model canvasses and enter the Step Up 2 A Start Up Tech Entrepreneurship Competition.
The top three winning teams for 2018 on the night were:
1st place
Find my Kgontshe (Charlotte Maxeke Secondary School, Gauteng)
Accommodation booking app for the lower income market
Nobuhle Motlounu – Grade 9
Babongile Maqutha -Grade 9
2nd place
On the go (Sir Pierre van Ryneveld School, Gauteng)
App for booking hospital appointments and avoiding ques
Tshegofatso Mathebe – Grade 11
Anele Mahasela – Grade 11
Tsholofelo Moetji – Grade 11
3rd place
M &C (Secunda High School)
App connecting companies/people looking to donate resources with deserving charities
Mmamokgele Mphokane – Grade 11
Caitlin Murray – Grade 11
All finalists were awarded prizes valued at over 2.5 million, comprised of bursaries, business incubation, cash and gadgets amongst others. The ceremony also included the awarding of the 2018 Step Up Trailblazer of the year – Mr Jaco Maree, who is a game changer, an entrepreneur of note, an innovator, a deep thinker and a passionate South African. Furthermore, Primestars recognised Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi with the Spirit of Service Award for his selfless commitment to sustaining youth education programmes.

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