Learners strut their start-up stuff

Tech solutions featured strongly in green start-up ideas presented by learners at the finals of the Primestars Step Up 2 a Green Start Up programme held in Johannesburg this week.

Learners turned to tech to drive their business concepts at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards

Participants, who come from under-resourced schools across the country, were tasked with producing business ideas serving local needs and solving environmental problems. Ten teams (25 learners in total) were selected as finalists and were flown to Johannesburg where they pitched their ideas to sponsors on Tuesday (December 7) after spending three days on a business bootcamp.

Some of the ideas presented at the Dragon’s Den-style event included an app that helps community members buy and sell clothes, a digital bin for recyclables and an app that helps users turn trash into cash.

Nakampe Molewa, UberEats’ regional GM of sub-Saharan Africa, joined other sponsors in praising the learners’ concepts.

“What I particularly like about these submissions is the teams’ social cause; their conscientious effort to do something about a problem that they see in their community,” he said. “It just shows that for this age group it’s not just about TikTok and Instagram just being used for entertainment. I find it fascinating that you get a young group of people like this who are actively looking at tech to solve big problems like recycling.”

Finalists and their teachers (nine in total) were all participants in Primestars’ Step Up 2 A Green Start Up National Youth Green Entrepreneurship Programme, which equips youth from under-resourced communities across South Africa to contribute to job creation in the green economy. This is a critical national intervention, addressing both the issues of climate change and unemployment.

The winning team – Green World, who pitched the concept of turning mine waste into building material – was announced at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards yesterday (December 8).

Prizes for learners included three Bachelor of Business Administration bursaries from Regenesys Business School; Higher Certificate programme bursaries from Regent Business School; bursaries from the Johannesburg Business School and from Richfield, access to business incubator Razicorp’s P3 programme; and access to Seed Academy’s internship programme. Prizes for teachers included an invitation to attend Allan Gray Orbis Foundation’s Ignite Africa Summit.

“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.

“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.”

The programme consists of four elements:

  • The Edutainment Feature Film (Karabo’s Kitchen)
  • The Entrepreneurs Tool Kit
  • The STEP UP 2 A START UP National Youth Entrepreneurship Competition
  • The Boot Camp and National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards

“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.


Featured image supplied by Primestars



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