Jul 2021 2nd Edition

Turning youth into entrepreneurs

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

Danie Jacobs teaches children about financial literacy and entrepreneurship from a young age, as he believes this will reduce unemployment and poverty when they are adults.

Jacobs, who was concerned about how many children leave school ill-prepared for the working world, founded the Young Entrepreneurs (YE) Foundation to teach them entrepreneurial, financial literacy, employability and workplace readiness skills. A learner participates in the Young Entrepreneurs Foundation programme that teaches financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

He believes the foundation will help children to start and grow micro enterprises and has taken his work to townships across South Africa.

“YE empowers children and young adults to become their own bosses, acquire a millionaire mindset and be equipped for the rapidly changing world of work.

“I truly believe that youth unemployment, poverty alleviation and major socio-
economic change can only be achieved if we establish an entrepreneurial culture in South Africa.

The foundation impacts around 6 500 kids annually.

“Our programmes enable children to discover money and business through play and a collection of fun, interactive, multi-media, minds-on and hands-on activities, games, simulations, videos and online applications,” says Jacobs.

The foundation initially experienced challenges with parents who believed their children would only succeed in life by obtaining a university qualification and getting a job.

“When the Coronavirus Disease came along, everyone saw how things changed. They realised how having an entrepreneurial mindset is important for the future,” says Jacobs.

The foundation is a partner of the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) E3 Schools Programme, which transforms teaching and learning to develop learners who complete school prepared for entrepreneurship, employability and further education.

Henry Syce, the principal of Johnson Nqonqoza Senior Secondary School in the Eastern Cape, says the iniative is having a positive impact on the community.

“The YE empowers our learners with practical entrepreneurial skills and challenges them to think out of the box.”

Siphosethu Tonga, from Sommerset East in the Eastern Cape, is a youth facilitator of the programme. He is excited to see learners grasping the concepts he explains to them in their mother tongue.

“I found the content understandable and accessible... Children are being taught to work for themselves, create their own wealth and not be solely dependent on government for work,” he says.

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