2016-12-15 22:27

Tuesday night (06/12/2016) marked the STEP UP 2 A START UP awards ceremony, that saw the top 10 entrepreneurial teams (comprised of 2 – 3 learners), identified through a national competition and adjudication process, showcase their business innovations amidst a flurry of excitement. The moment all were waiting for was the announcement of the 3 winning teams that came out victorious at the STEP UP 2 A START UP NATIONAL YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS.

Hosted at the Crown Reef Convention Centre by programme partners, Tsogo Sun, the occasion was graced by esteemed government officials including the Premier of Gauteng; David Makhura, MEC for Education; Panyaza Lesufi and executives from key sponsors (led by Sasol, MTN Foundation, Sizwe IT Group and the NYDA). All in attendance, were eager to meet the young STEP UP 2 A START UP entrepreneurs who transformed the Crown Reef foyer into a cutting-edge startup hub.

“This special night, on which we celebrate our young entrepreneurs, is the result of a programme that ensures that vital lessons of entrepreneurship reach thousands of high school learners from underserviced urban, peri-urban, townships and rural areas across South Africa”, said Martin Sweet, Managing Director, Primestars Marketing.

With every year that passes, the programme grows in capacity and breadth, consistently exploring new elements of entrepreneurship to increase its success and impact across the vast South African youth demographic.

The inspiring road towards entrepreneurial excellence, started in August, launching at 15 Ster Kinekor cinema complexes nationwide. The 16 000 learners were privy to an educational feature film that has been produced exclusively and specifically for the STEP UP 2 A START UP III programme.

The concept utilizes a multidimensional approach, bringing together 4 key components, each one building upon the entrepreneurial development and talent identification process. This includes:

  • The production and screening of an Educational Film;
  • An Entrepreneurs and Social Entrepreneurship toolkit given to all participating learners;
  • A National Youth Entrepreneurship Competition;
  • A Boot Camp and Awards Ceremony;

“We recognise that a growing small, medium and micro-sized (SMME) sector is vital for broadening economic participation. Sasol is driving the development of emerging businesses to help accelerate this outcome, and part of this approach is contributing to igniting entrepreneurial spirit in South African youth through Step Up 2 A Start Up,” said Wrenelle Stander, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Real Estate Services at Sasol Limited.

The Awards Ceremony was the home stretch, recognising our overall Youth Entrepreneurship Winners. Having pushed through the different stages of the competition, learners and teachers finally received the long-anticipated endorsement that acknowledges all their hard work over the last few months.

The Top 10 teams had successfully completed a proven Boot Camp that commenced on Saturday (3 December) at the Gold Reef Theme Park Hotel. Herein, they perfected their business model canvasses and modelled their presentation aptitudes. Top speakers from the academic and commercial spheres guided them through the process, leading up to the final adjudication procedure. Specific focus was placed on honing in on creative solutions that alleviate social problems in a viable and profitable manner, throughout the boot camp.

On the night, a wide assortment of stellar prizes that translated to over 1, 6 MILLION RANDS in value and much more by way of intellectual space and property, meant that a lot was at stake for the learners. While all teams displayed impressive and well – thought out business models, the team that scooped first place was NHI – New Headphone Inventors from Afrika-Tikkun Phutadijaba Centre (Alexander). This was closely followed by the two runner – ups, Repad Ambassadors and Flaunting Africa from Ribane-Laka High School (Mamelodi) and Westering High School (Port Elizabeth) respectively.

In what may possibly be the go-to event of the month in Johannesburg, credit goes to an innovative programme that has guaranteed that key conceptions and models in entrepreneurship, are made available to thousands of high school learners across South Africa, who otherwise would not have such access. The crux of this initiative was brilliantly encapsulated in the GM of Corporate Affairs for Tsogo Sun, Candy Tothill’s words;

“Collaboration is a cornerstone of these programmes – with the young people and their communities, as well as with like-minded organisations that can add greatly to the impact of our efforts. Primestars’ Step up to a Startup is an initiative that is creating entrepreneurs of tomorrow in innovative and effective ways. Tsogo Sun is proud to be a sponsor of a programme that is giving thousands of young people hope for the future.”

STEP UP 2 A START UP is a Public/Private partnership, one which has been well represented with a plethora of business executives from the leading brands involved, to show their support of the development young entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Primestars is extremely passionate about this programme and we are honoured to have sponsors on board that share the same passion for the programme and the potential it holds in offering young South Africans a better future. We would like to wish all the winning teams the best of luck in their journey to becoming successful entrepreneurs!


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