Dene Botha (37) may be a resident of Green Point but Kommetjie will always be his home – and he’s making the neighbourhood very proud.Avance Media will – for the fourth year – be ranking its 100 Most Influential Young South Africans. On the list for 2019 is Botha who will face off against the apple of South Africa’s eye, Springbok rugby captain Siya Kolisi, as well as Olympic medalist Chad le Clos and the current Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi.Recently recognised as one of 10 candidates in the social enterprise and philanthropy category, Botha bagged himself a spot by impacting the lives of about 57 000 young people through his life-skills academy, Pride Factor. Since the academy was established in 2014, it has hosted more than 90 youth-centred events in South Africa, Kenya and the United Kingdom.“We listen to the youth. That’s what differentiates us from other youth organisations. Everything we do is structured around what the young people want or have requested.“We get them excited, encouraged and then we get feedback. Vodacom, one of our biggest sponsors, took us to 22 universities and some technical vocational education and training colleges,” he says.Incorporating their findings, they were able to open and develop the course material on the online academy to touch more youth in a manner where they would be able to take away valuable information.“It’s a life-skills development platform. We want to improve the quality of lives of young people across the globe – make them happier. We teach them about health, money and wealth. We teach them to explore,” he says.The platform teaches life skills, which includes how to deal with failure, public speaking and bridging the knowledge gap from high school to real life, among other things. There is also a new course called Show Me the Money, providing youth with much-needed lessons on financial literacy.“The youth are loving what we’re doing. We encourage them to constantly be learning. Reach out, make yourself heard, look after yourself and stop relying on the government – stop expecting a hand-out!”What he and his teams have discovered is that lack of motivation is an universal problem that affects both the rich and poor. Pride Factor works with all young people to improve their self-esteem and to teach them the skills they need to lead better lives.Avance ranks the honorees through a voting process that determines the number one Most Influential Young South African. Before voting closed last week, Botha challenged the public. “In the spirit of philanthropy, and because I’m cheeky and don’t mind asking for help, we at Pride Factor will gift a bursary valued at R799 to a student on our waiting list for every vote I receive in the 100 Most Influential Young South Africans poll.” He added that the need is high: “We have well over one thousand teenagers and young adults who have applied for bursaries for the online academy.”Votes are now being tallied and winners will be announced on Thursday 13 February.