Studio to unleash youth potential

2015-09-03 06:00

Opening a new chapter for South Africa’s youth, Salesian Life Choices and Caban Investments Limited have partnered to form the Cape Town based New Ventures Studio.

New Ventures Studio is a platform for young (16 – 35) individuals who want to be successful entrepreneurs and realise the importance of upskilling themselves before venturing out into the unfamiliar territory of entrepreneurship.

The programme consists of an intensive eight week entrepreneurship course after which five individuals who have successfully completed the course will be selected to join the Studio Incubator.

South Africa’s youth are facing an unemployment crisis of epidemic proportions with a figure of 40% unemployment amongst youth being touted by those in the know. These youth are starting off their adult lives - through no fault of their own - with little opportunities. New Ventures Studio is designed to tackle this challenge. The studio aims to assist 80 aspiring young entrepreneurs, annually, to build operational and capitalised businesses.

New Ventures Studio applications are now open to all 16 - 35 year-old aspiring entrepreneurs, regardless of whether they have a business or not. Twenty successful applicants will make the cut for the pilot phase, each applicant will receive a R35 000 scholarship to attend the eight-week entrepreneurship course.

Sofia Neves, Salesian Life Choices Managing Director explains, “Our model focuses on selecting the right candidates. We only work with young people that already display entrepreneurial qualities and we accelerate them to become successful entrepreneurs. The course is tailored to this kind of individual and will comprise of modules in business and personal development. Attendees will be exposed to entrepreneurial leaders, learn to cultivate ideas, develop commercial skills and produce an investment-ready business plan by the end of the eight weeks.”

Dave Romero, Caban Investment Limited CEO adds, “After the eight weeks those who successfully complete the course will pitch to be selected for inclusion in the New Ventures Studio Incubator. They will receive a R100 000 line of credit for start-up services, office space and one-on-one mentoring in order to create an operational business that can attract further capital investment. The remaining 15 applicants will join the Studio’s Alumni Strategic Network that will give them contact with other entrepreneurs, business experts and academia. The Network will facilitate further opportunities to pitch to prospective investors.”

New Ventures Studio is more than an entrepreneur accelerator though. The concept came to life through a desire to refresh the failing non-profit business model of relying purely on donations.

“Salesian Life Choices nearly shut down in 2013, it became very difficult to secure funding due to the global economic recession. Key to the sustainability of any NPO is the ability to generate an income. We decided to develop a profit model in order to sustain our social mission of investing in youth to tackle inequality in South Africa. We wanted to change the non-profit modus operandi. We invited Caban Investments as our private partner to assist in developing a viable way to reach our objective. By having a share in the profit a sustainable revenue stream will be established.” says MsNeves.

“The Caban Group took a pledge on 16 June 2014 to teach youth entrepreneurship skills so that they can walk tall. We saw this partnership as an opportunity to fulfil our pledge. Together with Salesian Life Choices we hold a diverse set of skills, more than 100 years combined of experience and we will jointly replicate models we have successfully implemented before.

“We are excited about the positive impact this initiative will have on the youth, South Africa’s economy and the NPO sector. We are certain that this partnership will be able to create a platform where young South Africans can thrive,” says Mr Romero.

New Ventures Studio commits to the entrepreneur for as long as it takes for them to become successful. The initiative is invested in creating wealth in partnership with young entrepreneurs. To apply to the New Ventures Studio go or contact studio Manager, Matt Fisher on 021 696 4157or Applications close on 11September 2015

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