In collaboration with Absa, loveLife – South Africa’s largest HIV prevention programme for young people – will be giving 675 youth access to practical and theoretical entrepreneurial training. Some beneficiaries of this partnership are loveLife groundBREAKER alumni.

loveLife groundBREAKERs are peer motivators and community mobilisers who implement the organisation’s package of healthy sexuality and positive lifestyle programmes in communities across South Africa.

A year-long programme, this loveLife and Absa collaboration is targeted at young people – between the ages of 15 and 35 years old – who want to venture into business, but who lack the skills and resources to do this. While 450 beneficiaries are out of school, 225 are still in school. The initiative helps to address the big challenge South Africa faces of not having a culture of entrepreneurship.

loveLife CEO Grace Matlhape says this partnership is important because it’s not often that the private and non-profit sector collaborate for the benefit of young people. “This relationship enables us to work together to improve access to opportunities for them,” she adds. “Lack of opportunity is a key driver of high-risk behaviour among young people.

“Young people want to participate actively in the economy and not be recipients of charity. They want to drive change and contribute to the development of their communities and that is what this collaboration gives us the opportunity to work on.” Charles Reed, Head, Community Investment, Absa, says: “ For our organisation, becoming the ‘Go-To’ bank means facilitating greater, more inclusive prosperity for current and future generations. We support

employability programmes, like those run by loveLife, as they provide youth with the vital skills they need to secure or create employment, ultimately setting them on the path to social and economic success.”

Further elaborating on the benefits of this initiative, loveLife’s National Trainer, Dumezweni Nkala, highlights that it involves young people in meaningful activity that reduces their risk of engaging in unhealthy behaviour. “By setting up their own businesses, young people also build their sense of self-worth and purpose,” he adds. “Beneficiaries are afforded an opportunity to develop their career-oriented thinking, which will assist them in deciding on their career paths as they begin to think about post-school engagement.”

Once participants of the partnership have undergone theoretical entrepreneurial training, they will receive coaching by a team of experts in their locality. They will then be attached to an established small business in their community or elsewhere. This way, they benefit from practical, real-world experience of how a business works, while gaining expert advice and mentorship from a business representative.

Theoretical training to beneficiaries will be delivered by two trainers in each province and one coach per province will link them to a business. On completing the programme, participants will have vital business skills, based on a New Venture Creation qualification, so enabling them to set up small businesses.

This loveLife and Absa partnership will unleash young people’s enterprise development potential, contribute to the economic development of communities and tackle issues that increase young people’s vulnerability, including gender-based violence, poverty, unemployment and a lack of self-worth and purpose.