Home arrow Education arrow MasterCard opens up the world of entrepreneurship to 450 female learners

MasterCard opens up the world of entrepreneurship to 450 female learners

Friday, 01 June 2012
Ayanda Dube from McCauley House, one of the Grade 11 pupils chosen to participate in the JA BizVenture scheme

Ayanda Dube from McCauley House, one of the Grade 11 pupils chosen to participate in the JA BizVenture scheme.

450 female learners from 10 South African schools will take part in Junior Achievement South Africa’s (JASA) globally recognised entrepreneurship development programme, JA BizVenture. This has been made possible by a R1million donation from MasterCard Worldwide.

The Grade 11 learners, who are from schools in need of support, will be taught entrepreneurial and life skills in an 11 week programme that will take place after school hours. They will also gain practical business experience by starting up and managing their own businesses during the programme, which concludes in August 2012.

The programme’s launch was celebrated at the Orlando Soccer Stadium in Soweto, where keynote speaker Zanele Twala, Country Director, Action Aid and a Trustee of JASA, and popular performer, presenter and poet Lebo Mashile addressed learners, educators, female business leaders and the media.

"This programme will equip these young women with the skills that they will need to launch their own businesses, so that they in turn can employ others," said Linda McClure, MD of JASA. "A project like this will help break the cycle of unemployment faced by school leavers that threatens the future of South Africa’s youth, and will address job creation, which is one of government’s top priorities."

Facilitated by JASA-trained facilitators, the programme is divided into both theory and practical sessions. The learners will initially focus on business theory, including accounting, cash flow and marketing. They will then gain practical business experience by developing a product or service of their choice in response to their own market research, and will then market the product to their community.

The programme also includes a focus on interpersonal skills, and how these can best be applied in the workplace, giving the learners an insight into the ‘softer’, yet imperative skills required in the work environment. In addition, successful South African female entrepreneurs will be invited to share their business experience and advice with the learners to further inspire them.

"JASA is a non-profit organisation partnering with the business community, educators and volunteers — all working together to develop much needed entrepreneurial skills for young South Africans. This particular entrepreneurship programme will show the learners that being an entrepreneur is as viable a career option as any other," says McClure. "It shows them how to become an entrepreneur and it develops their confidence and imagination, in preparation for the working world once they graduate from high school."

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, published in 2011, found that female business owners, defined as those who generate paid employment for others, were significantly underrepresented in South Africa, with fewer than 40 female business owners for every 100 male owners. This was in spite of the survey’s results showing that South African women had equal access to employment opportunities and tertiary education, and reasonable levels of workforce participation.

"South Africa has come a long way in giving women access to education and regular employment opportunities, which are essential building blocks to further empowerment, financial independence and leadership. This programme addresses all of these building blocks in its course content, and we look forward to welcoming these learners into the business world when they emerge as successful entrepreneurs," says Anna Jones, Division President, South Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.

"MasterCard is committed to furthering financial inclusion through the power of entrepreneurship as it ensures that people have an opportunity to achieve their full potential. We chose to support these 450 learners as we have identified that nurturing entrepreneurship – particularly among women - is a positive way to address South Africa’s current high level of unemployment and ultimately, will assist each learner in achieving positive economic outcomes for themselves, their families and their communities" says Jones.

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