Minipreneurs kick-start their enterprises

Young entrepreneurs from Nozala Intermediate School in Phahameng, Bloemfontein

Young entrepreneurs from Nozala Intermediate School in Phahameng, Bloemfontein, got their first taste of the business environment by opening their own stand at the Volksblad Kos & Kunsmark at Emoya Estate on Saturday.
This exercise forms part of a 15-week entrepreneurial and financial literacy skills programme introduced to the group of grade 1s and 2s by Young Entrepreneurs (YE), in partnership with Central Media Group (CMG).
Founder of YE, Danie Jacobs, said the kids have been taken through the entrepreneurial cycle using edutainment and experiential learning throughout the 15 weeks. Each one started his or her own business wherein they named and registered their business, designed their own logos as well as business cards, set goals for the business, identified their target market as well as made their own products, which they sold.
“The kids received business backpacks. Within the packs is a material starter kit. So within that kit they can choose the products they can make and sell,” said Jacobs.
The products sold included leather jewellery, button art, bird feeders, funky photo frames as well as door hangers, all which the kids made personally.
Jacobs also said the programmes are age-specific. The Grade 1s and 2s are known as the Minipreneurs. They become Kidpreneurs from Grades 3 to 6 and they form a part of the Bizkids in Grades 7 to 9, when they actually start real businesses.
One of the Minipreneur’s parents, Nomteto Mabumbulu, said this project is a great initiative for the children and she was glad to see how excited her daughter was in being part of the initiative.
“It keeps them active and creative with what they’re doing. My daughter is making cards and diaries. She’s doing so well. She’s shy but as you can see she’s doing well so far. Even though I wasn’t sure about it because she wasn’t talkative, she surprised me.”
Mabumbulu added that she would like to see the success of the programme going forward to next year.
Jacobs also said what South Africa needs as a country is an entrepreneurial culture because a lot of the focus given to the entrepreneurial development, was fixated on the wrong age groups.
“Unfortunately, all our focus is on post-matric, which is 18 to 35. The problem is, as research shows, that kids are born with a very natural entrepreneurial mindset, spirit and intent. They love making things, selling things and they love playing shop-shop. As they grow older, that mindset dwindles and by the time they get to Grade 12 it’s almost non-existent.
“Many kids attend post school entrepreneurship development programmes out of necessity and not out of choice. What we need to do is create an entrepreneurial culture and mindset where entrepreneurship and starting your own business becomes an attractive career option,” he added.
The simple reason is that our formal sector is not big enough to accommodate all the youths coming through. Youth unemployment is a reality and we need to change that and make sure they have a future and they can dream big.
There are 24 YE franchises nationally and it can be found in most of the provinces. They are also available in Botswana, Lesotho and in Indonesia. This Minipreneur Programme is the first one to be sponsored by CMG in the Free State. – Moeketsi Mogotsi