Beads bring business into class

2017-07-18 06:00
Facilitator Zaida Julius with learners Re-oline Newman and Laaiqah Hendricks PHOTO: Samantha lee

Facilitator Zaida Julius with learners Re-oline Newman and Laaiqah Hendricks PHOTO: Samantha lee

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Two aspiring entrepreneurs have just returned from a four-day national competition where they represented the Western Cape.

Re-oline Newman and Laaiqah Hendricks of Lentegeur High School were part of a group of learners who participated in entrepreneurship workshops facilitated at the school last year between July and November.

“This was a first for Lentegeur,” says junior achievers facilitator Zaida Julius.

“They were a group of 45 learners and they had to set up two companies. The training took them from business ethics to setting up a ­company.”

The students did not have start-up funding and organised a market day to help raise funds to create their products.

After completing the training, the 45 learners also had a graduation and received certificates.

Following the training, Julius was asked to nominate one of the two companies to participate in the national Investec Junior Innovators competition.

“Because of the uniqueness of their product I chose Junior African Craft,” says Julius.

Their idea was to create unique beaded jewellery and products.

Newman is a Grade 12 learner and was the general manager and Hendricks, a Grade 11 learner, was the accountant of the company.

“We put together a business plan and they were selected in the top 7 of the competition. Then follow-up documentation was sent through and they were announced as the winners of the regionals,” says Julius.

In order to be nominated, the companies had to come up with one unique product.

“We brainstormed and the group came up with a great idea,” says Julius.

Their standout product was a beaded cellphone cover that could be customised to their customer’s taste.

Although many other schools in the area have participated in the workshops before, Lentegeur High School is the first school in Mitchell’s Plain to be named the winner in the province.

The two learners were selected to represent the Western Cape against winners from other provinces in the national competition from Monday 10 to Thursday 13 July.

“The reason I selected the two of them was because of their attendence and endurance.

“Both companies had a beautiful tree planting as part of their corporate social investment responsibility,” says Julius.

This was also funded by the market day.

Although their business did not place in the top three, they will still receive ongoing support in making their companies a success.

There were also no monetary ­prizes.

Julius says many previous winners have sold their ideas and had it put into mass production.

“Being in the competition creates potential for this to become a real business,” says Julius.

Hendricks says the workshops were valuable.

“To start a business is not easy, but if you are a business owner you can help other people. Unemployment has a huge impact on our community,” she says.

“I found the workshops interesting and we learnt a lot in the training. I was the accountant and I take accounting as a subject and having to do this helped me in class.”

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