In an exclusive virtual graduation ceremony, the dynamic, driven and inspiring Class of 2021 who, almost 2 years, ago embarked on a journey of personal and professional self-discovery, took to the Innovator Trust virtual stage as they were officially announced as graduates from the 2021 Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (Yep).
Having completed the 1-year programme during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, these graduates were commended for their determination, resilience and perseverance. Despite the challenges brought on by the adverse circumstances under lockdown, which undoubtedly made learning difficult, these young individuals chose to remain committed and never gave up.
Launched in 2017, in partnership with Vodacom, Yep was initiated to lend a helping hand to unemployed South African youth, ushering young entrepreneurial minds on a guided tour of the modern business environment, developing skills necessary for the working world and exposing them to the opportunities that exist within the realm of tech entrepreneurship.
The Youth Entrepreneurship Programme gave beneficiaries an ideal and holistic tool-kit for the modern day, young entrepreneur to dig their roots deep and build a solid foundation for their businesses to develop. With presence in the Western Cape, Mpumalanga, the Free State and the Gauteng provinces, the programme provides mentorship, training and course materials covering subject matter areas such as coding, Microsoft skills, gaming, financial management and business model planning, marketing, self-awareness, workplace readiness, business communication, conflict management, and more.
Overall Top Achievers, Lehlohonolo Majawetsa (Free State), Kerwin Flint (Western Cape) and Billy Magagula (Gauteng) received special mention at the graduation, acknowledging their dedication and excellence in engagement throughout the programme and walking away with a prize package including a R2,000 Takealot voucher courtesy of the Innovator Trust as well as a brand new smartphone from Vodacom.
The top prize of the day was reserved for the Top Business Presentations from the cohort. Every year, three beneficiaries who have successfully worked on an innovative, impactful business plan and boldly pitched their entrepreneurial ambitions to a panel of industry experts, are selected for this special award, each of them receiving a prize package including a R5,000 cash injection towards their business venture courtesy of the Innovator Trust, as well as a tablet and smartphone from Vodacom. The YEP Top 3 Business Presentations were:
1st Place: Kaede Cupido (Western Cape)
2nd Place: Thandokazi Dyantyi (Western Cape)
3rd Place: Refentse Phiri (Free State)
In the words of Tashline Jooste, CEO of the Innovator Trust who delivered a rousing address to the graduates: “To simply be here today after the last two years is a victory. It is a victory over impending doom, failure and challenges, a victory over mediocrity, the comfort zone and complacency, and it is a victory over every bit of fear that’s ever stopped you from achieving your goals and getting where you want to be in life,” said Jooste.
Elizabeth Dimakatso Liketso
Francis Mmampa Rapakgadi
Gracca Khensani Mahomane
Mogau Rudolph Matlala