Competition introduces matrics to business

During the launch of the Entrepreneurial Matriculant of the Year competition were from the left, Dan Maritz, CUT Director of Communications and Marketing; Anton Nicolaisen, Provincial Head of Standard Bank; Matthew Rantso, CUT Council Member; Prof. Henk de Jager, CUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal; Gadija Brown, Free State MEC of Finance; Nick Efstathiou, CEO of Central Media Group; Tsatsi Montso, Acting Chief Director Curriculum Management Services at the Free State Department of Education; Nolwazi Nkeane, Head of Sectors and Products at Standard Bank; and David Uwah, local entrepreneur. PHOTO: PIERCE VAN HEERDEN

A competition that aims to increase learners’ problem-solving and decision-making abilities as well as improve their interpersonal skills, teamwork and knowledge of money management, has just been introduced for matriculants.

The Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT), together with its partners, Central Media Group (CMG) and Standard Bank South Africa (SBSA), has launched the Entrepreneurial Matriculant of the Year Competition (EMYC), which is envisioned to be an annual contest hosted for Grade 12 learners.

According to a statement by CUT, the competition will allow learners to attempt to conceive and describe a business idea in order to enhance their entrepreneurial skills with the aim of encouraging self-learning and instil basic research skills.

“The EMYC will also encourage matriculants to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career path and to provide real-life experiences to learners in developing business plans and pitching to investors,” says CUT in the statement.

In his welcome address, Prof. Henk de Jager, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of CUT, highlighted the need for an entrepreneurial enhancement among the youth.

“As CUT, we have made great strides in integrating entrepreneurship spirit and skills among our students and also infused it in the curricular. We are trying to unlock the creativity of our learners so that they can think outside the box, look at the environment and get a good idea of how they can address social challenges in our communities,” said De Jager.
Central Media Group’s CEO, Nick Efstathiou, said that as CMG they are obsessed about growth in the central region and will continue to support such initiatives and see it getting off the ground.

“As CMG, we are delighted to be part of this exciting venture. Our goal is to grow as a proudly central South African business, which is fitting as a sponsor of the EMYC, for the central population of South Africa,” said Efstathiou.
Anton Nicoliasen, Provincial Head of SBSA, said that they, as Standard Bank, see the competition as an excellent opportunity to make a difference and also see themselves as catalysts of change.

“The youth is our future and we are faced with a big challenge of unemployment. As Standard Bank, we hope that this competition will plant a seed and give confidence to the matriculants of today to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” said Nicoliasen.
The Free State MEC of Finance, Gadija Brown, delivered a special message of support to the establishment of the EMYC. “Our provincial economy is not doing very well, and this is the opportunity for our matriculants to see the gap, tune in and be able to make money while supporting the economy of the province,” said Brown.

Entries will be open for all matriculants from the central region of South Africa and neighbouring provinces such as Gauteng and the Northern Cape who attend quintile 1,2,3 and former Model C schools. The schools will conduct their internal competitions and then select their most promising business descriptions for a provincial-level competition.
From schools’ submissions, a panel consisting of CUT, SBSA, CMG and business sector members will select and award prizes to the top five entries.The competition closes in August and more information will be posted on the CUT webpage.