Teenagers from across the peninsula took their first steps to becoming entrepreneurs at a workshop during the school holiday.Putting the spotlight on youth and entrepreneurship, they had the chance to design their own future at the very first #TeenBoss workshop which took place from Wednesday 29 June to Friday 1 July at the event hosted by the SA Teen Entrepreneur Foundation at The River Club.The founder and director of SA Teen Entrepreneur Foundation, Lydia Zingoni, recognises that young people need to play a more significant role in the growth of South Africa’s economy. She is working to set up entrepreneurial societies in schools and is currently running programmes in eight schools. “SA’s small and medium enterprises make up 50% of employment opportunities, so there needs to be great emphasis in driving entrepreneurship programmes that will reach teenagers across the country.” With the unemployment rate at its highest since 2005, and youth unemployment at an alarming 37.7%, the aim of the workshop and other SA Teen Entrepreneur programmes is to instil an entrepreneurial mind-set into the hearts and minds of young South Africans. The biggest challenge for a start-up is the failure rate. Statistics reveal that 80% of new businesses fail within the first 2-3 years. “We need to educate the youth on how to overcome the risks of starting a business,” says #TeenBoss representative Kyle Sanders.“The better equipped teenagers are, the more likely they are to face adversity head-on along the way. There is so much creativity out there and it’s inspiring to see those we have mentored go on to do amazing things, like Brian Mbaleki, aka Truth Spitter, from Spes Bona High School in Athlone, who within a few months of exposure to the SA Teen Entrepreneur programme, will be releasing his first rap album this year.” Over the three days, students were taught about all the aspects of launching a business – from identifying the target audience, funding, sourcing materials, marketing and branding to finally pitching a business idea. Students teamed up to exchange ideas and worked together to build a business plan which they then presented to a panel of judges on the last day of the workshop. V Visit www.teenentrepreneur.co.za.