IGNITING YOUTH ENTREPRENEURAL SPIRIT IN GAMAGARA COMMUNITIES
August 2021, Kathu
The REISA Youth Social Enterprise Development Programme launched this year, aimed at igniting enthusiasm amongst youth entrepreneurs, who are driven and dedicated to making a difference in their respective communities, in Gamagara. Twenty-eight out of the first group of fifty youths, have now been further refined to produce a core group of five talented and up-skilled youth SMMEs.
“The initial two-day workshop focused on supporting the young participants to explore creative ideas for their social enterprise, while supporting the participants to consider how they can respond to specific needs in their community. This was followed by the second level participating in a series of ‘Discover Workshops’ focused on entrepreneurship, finance and brand building, so that this final selection could be made, ensuring that participants have received the necessary mentorship and skills training,” Veronique Isaacs, Project Community Operations Officer for REISA, one of the country’s largest solar projects.
This final phase supports a cohort of five skilled and talented entrepreneurs, who will commence a further six-month business support and mentoring programme, in addition to being provided with the seed capital on conclusion of the programme. This approach is designed to adequately position these SMMEs to successfully accelerate social change within the communities of Olifantshoek, Dibeng, Siyathemba, Kathu, Mapoteng/Sesheng and Babatas, through their respective SMMEs.
Hence, the impetus of the programme is not only aimed at addressing youth unemployment, but to simultaneously tackle a range of pressing socio-economic challenges, in order to transform communities in a meaningful manner.
“By supporting the emergence of new youth-led social enterprises and also potentially giving existing early-stage social enterprises a chance to grow and become sustainable, we believe that this programme will support a fundamental change in young people’s perspectives and ultimately support their vision of self-sufficiency and social entrepreneurship,” added Isaacs.
The selected social enterprises range from farming, to youth development using dance, graduation attire hiring, and even an environmental impact business with a focus on recycling. These are namely, Gamagara Dance Sport Academy; EE-Phepha Environmental; Little Munchies; Mafulo Poultry Farming; and Bongintsilelo.