- Three pupils from Bonteheuwel High School recently partook in this year's National Youth Green Entrepreneurship Programme.
- The girls pitched their idea of growing the economy by means of an "exchange clothing service" that reduces clothing waste and enables buying and selling within the community.
- Even though they didn't win, all three pupils received bursaries and technology tablets to kickstart their business.
Three pupils from Bonteheuwel High School in Cape Town are beaming with pride after successfully pitching their green business concepts to a judging panel.
This saw them walk away with bursaries and technology tablets at this year’s Primestar’s Step Up 2, a Green start-up National Youth Green Entrepreneurship Programme.
Participants in the programme, who hail from under-resourced schools across the country, had been tasked with coming up with business ideas serving local needs and solving environmental problems.
Cassidy Spoctor, 15, Farazaanah Laubser, 15, and Tamara Oliver, 16, were among 10 teams of 25 pupils and nine teachers across South Africa who were flown to Johannesburg earlier this week to showcase their green innovation and entrepreneurial skills.
The youngsters had come up with an idea of an "exchange clothing service" that reduces clothing waste and enables buying and selling within the community.
Speaking to News24 minutes after landing back in Cape Town, the girls said they noticed that the dumping of clothes was a big issue in their area.
The girls added that before the awards ceremony, they were sent to a boot camp at the Wanderers Club where they attended workshops such as creating a business plan, running social media for their company, and listening to motivational talks.
"That was incredible. It opened our minds to new possibilities and understandings as to how we can better the economy," added Laubser.
On Tuesday, the teens were tasked with "selling" their business idea to a panel of sponsors, who ranked all the submissions.
"It’s been such a valuable experience. One of the most important things we’ve learnt is not to give up, so we’re going to give this business our all," said an eager Spoctor.
Although the girls did not win at the awards ceremony which was held at the Houghton Hotel, they were still awarded bursaries from Richfield and University of Johannesburg, and tablets from Sizwe IT.
The bubbly teens said that they feel a sense of pride because it’s not every day that good stories come out of their area.
"Bonteheuwel is not always painted in a very good light, and if our small achievements can help encourage other youngsters in the area to see that there is more to life than unemployment, drugs and gangsterism, then we consider that a win," added Spoctor.
The school’s business teacher Chad Moodie, 26, who oversaw their entry into the competition, said that the experience had been "invaluable".
"I’m so proud of them. It’s been amazing how committed this team has been. They’ve spent endless nights working on their business idea and taking everybody’s advice into account, and their growth over this process has been incredible," Moodie added.
The youngsters expressed that it was their first time flying in a plane and they enjoyed every minute of it.
"With exams finally ended, this was a great experience for us to unwind and see what the future holds," the girls added.
The future looks very bright for these youngsters as they set their sights on growing the economy.
"We're definitely going to be making use of the bursaries we received to further our careers in business, it's very exciting," said Oliver.
With their business just starting up, they plan on using their tablets to promote their clothing business on social media as the girls have no funding yet.
Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus Mackenzie said he is "extremely proud of the young ladies".
"We have consistently seen Bonteheuwel's young people achieve extraordinary things despite some really horrendous conditions they find themselves living in and these young ladies have shown that with determination anything is possible," Mackenzie added.
He added that the community always needs upliftment and these youngsters have shown this.
"We need this good news; we need to stand behind our youth and push them to be great in life for they are the future leaders. These youngsters have shown that anything is possible, even if you come from Bonteheuwel!" said Mackenzie.
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