FIVE finalists of SAB’s youth entrepreneurship development programme, SAB KickStart Boost, were recognised for their success at a ceremony on November 28 and two of the finalists hail from Port Elizabeth.Ebenezer Smith (34) and Violet Thotoane Lupuwana (32) received the awards for first and third place, respectively, for their success at executing their business strategy most effectively during the duration of the programme, as well as their ability to apply methods of scaling and creating jobs. SAB KickStart is one of the country’s longest-running and most successful youth development programmes. Started in 1995, it is now aimed at creating meaningful jobs in South Africa by growing sustainable youth-owned businesses.To date, SAB KickStart, targeted at youth between the ages of 18 and 35, has upskilled more than 25 000 entrepreneurs and empowered over 3 500 youth-owned businesses in South Africa. The 21 young entrepreneurs selected as finalists in the youth entrepreneurship development programme have created a total of 178 jobs in their respective communities as a result of the support provided by the programme this year.“The number of jobs created by this small group of entrepreneurs provides positive evidence that entrepreneurship, if given the appropriate support and guidance to grow, can make a meaningful impact on the challenge of unemployment that South Africa faces,” said Phumzile Chifunyise, enterprise development manager, SAB and AB InBev Africa. “SAB sees the potential and value that entrepreneurs, in particular youth entrepreneurs, offer to the country and a large amount of our efforts is directed at channelling them into the direction of success for their businesses.” The 21 finalists operate largely in sectors identified at a national level as being high impact job creators, including manufacturing, agriculture, transport, information technology, and renewable energy. They were assisted with business opportunities in large companies, similar to SAB, and many of them have secured business service contracts with these. Businesses are assisted with aligning to big business supply chain requirements and are offered opportunities within targeted market linkages. “The long-term sustainability of SMMEs must be supported through giving them opportunities where these entities ordinarily struggle – access and the ability to service large corporations. We help develop them to reach a level where they can adequately service these organisations in their own right.” The top five SAB KickStart 2018 businesses: The Most Impressive Business Award, R150 000 grant, went to Profecia IT. Ebenezer Smith co-established Profecia IT, a software development and telecommunications business, in 2012. It is based in Port Elizabeth. The Sustainability Award, R75 000 grant, went to KCM Environmental Services, an environmental monitoring consultancy that helps companies comply with South African environmental regulations. It was established by Kevin Munsamy (35) in 2015 and is based in Durban. The Perseverance Award, R50 000 grant went to Port Elizabeth-based Chumile Transport, a division of Chumile Holdings that was established by Violet Thotoane Lupuwana in 2012. The business has a fleet of 30 vehicles for shuttle services, transfers, chauffeur services, staff transport contracts and tours. The Up-and-Coming Business Award, R15 000 grant went to Excserpro, an auto electrical solutions business that also provides remanufacturing services. It was established by Gabisile Mashilwana (29) in 2015 and is based in Evander, Mpumalanga. The Innovative Business Award, R10 000 grant, went to Samac Engineering Solutions, a mechanical engineering business with a core focus on green solutions. Thabang Mofokeng (40) has been Director and CEO of SAMAC Engineering Solutions since 2013. It is based in Durban.