Cape Town, 24 August 2013- Early on Saturday morning, the Colosseum Luxury Hotel in Century City opened its doors to the Akro Organisation, a group of the brightest young entrepreneurs in the country. The event saw 40 university students, all running businesses of their own and all among the adjudged Top 50 young entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Some of the biggest names in business attended to speak and coach the young group of entrepreneurs as they set out on business ventures that will relieve the dire state of unemployment in SA.
Behind the frenzy of ideas and events and people talking is the Akro Organisation, a student-founded non-profit geared toward youth entrepreneurship. After just 3 months on the scene, Akro has gathered a horde of followers and has seen much interest from big corporates and their CEO’S.
“What really sets these guys apart is that they have so much passion! They want so badly [to] do business, create jobs and help the economy, and it’s so great to have an entire network of students building businesses together,” says James Kieser (22), one of nine founding members of Akro and Head Analyst at Akro’s new hedge fund.
The event on Saturday saw distinguished speakers of every industry relay their thoughts and words of encouragement to the team of eager young entrepreneurs. The morning session saw speakers including JP Farinha, CEO of Property24 and Director at Naspers and Vuyisa Qabaka, Founder Trustee at Name Your Hood Foundation, speaking on entrepreneurship and investing. The afternoon session got a bit more in depth with a marketing workshop run by Green Beetle CEO Ron Basel and a quickfire ‘think tank’.
“It’s amazing…” says Ron, “Someone spits out an idea, and fifteen minutes later it’s a fully-fledged business model that anyone can take to market.”
Tom Raviv, a 21 year-old co-founding member of Akro and CEO of ‘social wiifi’ system, Hiifi, says he’s never learned so much in one day.
“In these circles I’m usually the one with knowledge to impart, but today was a team effort from beginning to end. It really goes to show- this generation of entrepreneurial leaders is simply a powerhouse of ingenuity.”
The Akro Organisation extended its appreciation to the Singer Hotel Group and Ernst & Young for all their support. “It’s been a blessing to have our sponsors on board. They’ve taken us to the next level, and we look forward to a prosperous relationship with them in the years to come.”
But they’re not stopping here: Jason Basel (20) is the Founder of the Akro Organisation and chairs a group of nine companies. Asked how he has accomplished so much at such a young age, Jason says he is only laying the foundation for the future.
“There’s a lot more to come from us in the coming years, we’re just starting out. We’ve got passion in South Africa, and we’ve got plenty of talent. To make it, all we need is action. That’s the difference. These guys [Akro members] take an idea to market with speed, and that’s why they’ve been successful.”
All too often in South Africa we hear doom and gloom stories- high unemployment, businesses failing and corruption. This generation of entrepreneurs is looking to change that.
“We haven’t accomplished anything until unemployment halves, not until South Africans are free of financial strain and our businesses compete on a global scale. The talent has been here for decades, but no one has used it properly.”
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