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We are shining a spotlight on Junior Achievement South Africa (JA South Africa), a remarkable Corporate Social Investment (CSI) partner dedicated to transforming the lives of young South Africans. For more than seven years, Sasfin has proudly partnered with JA South Africa from a social economic development perspective to support its mission of empowering youth with essential skills in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness.

Bonga Khumalo, the National programs Manager of Junior Achievement South Africa (JA South Africa)  is at the forefront of transforming the lives of South Africa’s youth. Through innovative and tailored programs in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness, JA South Africa has empowered more than 600,000 young people.

As the National programs Manager, Bonga collaborates closely with the Executive Director to design and implement programs tailored to funders’ requirements. He coordinates with provincial teams, monitors progress, and compiles reports for stakeholders.

Comprehensive Educational programs

JA South Africa operates across primary schools, high schools, out-of-school youth, providing tailored programs to each group:

  1. Primary School programs: The flagship ‘More Than Money’ programme educates Grade 5 to 7 students on earning, saving, and spending money. Students participate in a savings challenge, with JA South Africa matching their savings up to R2,000.
  2. High School programs: These include financial literacy for Grade 8 students and entrepreneurship training for Grade 9 students, culminating in business plan presentations. The Enterprise programme, a key initiative, involves Grade 10 and 11 students forming teams to create and run businesses, learning through hands-on experience in design thinking and business management. Successful participants can earn substantial revenues and compete in national and regional Junior Achievement Worldwide competitions.
  3. Out-of-School programs: Targeting 18 to 35-year-olds, the Youth Enterprise Development programme helps young adults start businesses, offering extensive training and support. Graduates advance to the Enterprise Accelerator program for coaching on scaling their businesses. Additionally, the Social Equity program is a four-day bootcamp where youth work in teams to address community challenges using sustainable development goals. Teams present their solutions to a panel of judges, with top performers receiving further coaching and mentoring.

Strategic Partnerships and Economic Impact

Bonga emphasises the crucial role of partnerships in achieving JA South Africa’s mission. Collaborations with organisations like Sasfin are instrumental in reducing youth unemployment and preparing young people to succeed in the global economy.  By fostering entrepreneurship, JA South Africa not only supports individual success stories but also contributes to broader economic growth and job creation.

Valentine Mabaso, a JA South Africa Success Story

Valentine Mabaso is a shining example of how JA South Africa nurtures the entrepreneurial spirit in our youth. Valentine harnessed the skills and opportunities provided by JA South Africa to build RockScars, a unique modelling agency for individuals with scars and skin ailments. Valentine joined the JA South Africa program in 2010 when she was in Grade 10. There, she developed practical skills through the Enterprise program – from forming a company and developing a business plan to launching a product. Today, Valentine manages four thriving companies, including RockScars.

Key Takeaways from the JA South Africa program

Valentine highlighted three crucial benefits she gained during the program:

  1. Practical Application: Bridging the gap between classroom learning and real-world business operations.
  2. Skills Development: Acquiring valuable skills in areas like production and business management.
  3. Academic Benefits: Gaining real-world context that helped her excel in business studies. 

When it comes to future entrepreneurs, Valentine has three pieces of advice:

  1. Start where you are – utilise your existing resources and identify opportunities around you.
  2. Persistence is key – keep going even if you face challenges like financing.
  3. Focus on impact – entrepreneurship is about creating solutions and making a positive contribution.

Valentine Mabaso’s story exemplifies the profound influence of JA South Africa in supporting young entrepreneurs.

Empowering Young Entrepreneurs

JA South Africa is crucial in addressing South Africa’s unemployment crisis by fostering youth entrepreneurship as seen in the story of Valentine. The organisation’s programs equip young people with the necessary skills to launch and sustain successful businesses, making a lasting impact on their lives and communities.

Read more

Previously we spoke to Nelo Spies, Executive Director of JA South Africa; as well as Miriam Maphaesa, a teacher and mentor for the JA South Africa programs funded by Sasfin. You can read that story here.

Watch full video here:

About the Author

Elisheva Gilbert
Chief of Staff, Sasfin Holdings Limited

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