In order to make a dent on South Africa’s massive youth unemployment, focussed and sustainable interventions are required. To do just that, youth leadership development organisation, loveLife is doing it one bootcamp at a time as part of Business for Social Change – a 12-month entrepreneurship development programme. At the end of the camp, those social enterprises that are considered viable are awarded seed capital to start them off.
The bootcamp is taking place in Fourways, Johannesburg and 200 out-of-school youth will go through various modules during the camp.

The camp will follow the Business Model Canvas and will focus on two main topics:

  • Business modelling, and
  • Pitch preparation.Business Modelling is about understanding the business environment; the players (competitors), products/services, markets, other stakeholders and their roles (for example the media and government).

Participants will test their business ideas and rudimentary plans against the various elements of the Business Model Canvas. At the end of the training, they will have a more robust business model and business plan which earns them 40 credits towards a Higher Certificate in Management accredited by the Southern Business School.

The Pitch Preparation training prepares the participants on how to pitch to potential investors/funders. Studies have shown that one of the reasons for micro and small businesses failing is the lack of skills and preparedness for pitching to investors.

During the training, participants will be taught the principles of pitching and will engage in a series of practical exercises. They will then pitch to a panel of real investors. Successful pitches will result in those social enterprises receiving startup funding.

Through this camp, loveLife hopes to raise the skills levels of young people and make them more employable and able to startup and sustain their own businesses with support of mentorship and coaching, and to attract support from the private sector for the programme.

“All of these outcomes address the core areas of the Youth Employment Accord launched in 2011, and contribute to reducing the youth unemployment levels,” says loveLife Senior Manager: Business for Social Change, Peggy Pillay.
“We invite businesses to work with us because we have a tried and tested model. This training is designed to address both the supply side and demand side issues of business. On the supply side, the labour market will have a pool of employable young people and on the demand side, many of the small enterprises that are established will be able to be accommodated in the enterprise development programmes of the private/public sectors.”

The first phase of the project was implemented with Absa and the success achieved is encouraging. Out of 450 participants, 290 have registered businesses and some have started trading. There were 122 participants who found full-time employment and 11 found part-time employment.

“If more companies could follow Absa’s lead we could achieve so much more. The South African economy needs to grow. We need the youth of our country to be productively engaged. loveLife has the development background, the national infrastructure and the ability to reach scale, so we invite established business to work with us,” concludes Pillay.