This year’s theme centred around Entrepreneurship and Climate Change and how sustainable businesses (as Start Up’s) will positively impact climate change.
A start-up business idea to turn mine waste into building material helped a team of two high-school learners from Sir Pierre van Ryneveld High School in Kempton Park scoop the top place at a national entrepreneurship programme.
Petu Ndlovu and Karabo Motshane’s idea won them a collection of prizes, including bursaries from REGENT BUSINESS SCHOOL, Richfield and the University of Johannesburg and a cash prize from Primestars, at the Primestars’ Step Up 2 A Green Start Up National Youth Green Entrepreneurship Programme.
The winners were announced at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards in Johannesburg recently, where the young finalists rubbed shoulders with sponsors and high-profile guests including former first lady Zanele Mbeki and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
“We know that mine waste is a real issue, and causes diseases because of the poisons, so this was a problem that we really wanted to turn into a business opportunity,” said Petu Ndlovu. “We did our research, and realised that we’d be able to turn this waste into building materials such as bricks and roof tiles.”
Ten teams of learners (25 learners in total) and their teachers (nine in total) had been chosen as finalists from a field of 500 team entries.
Prior to the awards ceremony, the finalists had been flown to Johannesburg where they participated in a business bootcamp that culminated in a Dragon’s Den style pitch where they had to sell their concept to sponsors.
The Step Up 2 A Green Start Up National Youth Green Entrepreneurship Programme equipped 12 000 learners from under-resourced communities across South Africa to contribute to job creation in the green economy.
“A combination of a green economy transition and entrepreneurship support can pave the way to unlock economic value, fight climate change and improve human wellbeing,” said Martin Sweet, MD of Primestars at the awards ceremony.
“South African youth must take advantage of the many opportunities that the Green economy provides. To reduce our high unemployment rate, they will need to learn the skills and develop the competencies that will enable them to create businesses and become gainful employers in a circular, restorative, inclusive and clean economy. Our initiative, Step Up 2 A Green Start Up, talks to these goals.”
Prizes for learners include three Bachelor of Business Administration bursaries from Regenesys Business School; Higher Certificate programme bursaries from REGENT BUSINESS SCHOOL; bursaries from the Johannesburg Business School, access to business incubator Razicorp’s P3 programme; and access to Seed Academy’s internship programme. Prizes for teachers include an invitation to attend Allan Gray Orbis Foundation’s Ignite Africa Summit.
The Step Up 2 A Green Start Up National Youth Green Entrepreneurship Programme consists of four elements:
“As we reach yet another incredible milestone in our Step Up 2 A Start-Up journey, I would again like to thank our wonderful sponsors. You truly are heroes who helped start the fires of enterprise, igniting new businesses, glowing with entrepreneurial passion and purpose, resulting in a low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive planet,” concluded Martin Sweet.