Over 130 pupils from 30 schools across Nelson Mandela Bay have spent the last few months developing their own small businesses – and on 16 June will be selling their innovative, tailor-made products at a “Future Business Leaders” Market Day at Baywest shopping mall.
The creative youngsters – who range in age from seven to 17 – are all participants in the national Young Entrepreneurs programme, which was introduced in the Eastern Cape last year.
Their wide range of products – which they have made from both new and recycled materials – includes jewellery, table-cloth weights, bookmarks, wind charms, kids’ and pets’ toys, bird feeders, picture frames, hair accessories, keyrings, door signs, and much more.
Paterson High’s Matapelo Letlage, 16, who has turned old traditional clothes and jeans into colourful handbags, said: “I’ve learned so much about what it takes to run your own business – I’ve also learnt how to attract more customers [to my stall].”
Westering High’s Reece Naidoo and Euan Percival, both 14, have taken inspiration from nature to create “modern furniture” for their joint stall. “We’ve used pebbles and wood. Things that don’t seem interesting to other people is what we’re using [for our modern designs],” said Percival.
Urban Academy’s Jephias Mudombi, 16, who is selling denim-covered pot plants and unique rings said the YE course had taught him about “business plans, creative thinking and different types of products”, knowledge he plans to use on his journey towards becoming a Chartered Accountant.
Curro Westbrook’s Morgan Wilson, 9, has spent many hours making creative photo frames. “I’ve learned how to lower my prices if noone’s coming.”
While the various YE programmes, catering for children from Grades 1 to 11, provide ideas for products, many children chose to come up with their own.
“This is what entrepreneurship is all about. Many have identified opportunities and, with guidance, are now taking a product to market,” said Ansulene Prinsloo, owner of the city’s Young Entrepreneurs franchise.
“Everyone has an entrepreneurial streak inside them. It only needs to be awakened, encouraged, and set free.”
Among the “sellers” at the Market Day, which is running from 11am to 2pm at Baywest’s food court, will be 60 children from Charles Duna Primary in New Brighton. The school forms part of Young Entrepreneur’s national outreach initiative, where local businesses sponsor YE programme at previously-disadvantaged schools.
Charles Duna’s YE programme has been such a success that the school has formed its own entrepreneurial venture, making and selling jewellery – called Kingdom Kids – and have started selling their wares at various Bay markets, including the Locally Yours craft market day in May.
Given South Africa’s high unemployment rates, Prinsloo believes all children should be equipped with the practical skills to run their own businesses and manage their own finances – skills that are not typically taught through the traditional school system.
“We need to develop job creators and not job seekers.”
For more info, contact, Ansulene Prinsloo at 083 300 6118
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