More than 200 Pupils to Attend School Entrepreneurship Conference
8 July 2013
South Africa’s only entrepreneurship conference targeting high school pupils starts in the Western Cape today, 8 July 2013.
The second edition of the School Entrepreneurship Conference takes place at the South Peninsula High School.
Co-funded by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, more than 200 pupils from schools in Nyanga, Mitchells Plain, Philippi and Manenberg will attend the five-day conference.
One section of the conference is the Innovation Workshop, where young participants research newspapers to find business ideas.
On the final day of the event the young participants will pitch their concepts to a panel of judges. The winner receives a cash prize to fund their venture.
Ideas at last year’s conference include tutoring services, a babysitting company and one pupil’s concept was to hire designer outfits to residents for special events.
Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, will attend the event on Thursday to announce this year’s winner.
Minister Winde said the conference complemented the Western Cape Government’s Innovate Programme, which aims to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation among young people, the demographic with the highest level of unemployment in South Africa.
The Innovate Programme is a portfolio of youth entrepreneurship projects which include partnerships with the province’s leading tertiary institutions, such as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town.
“Small businesses are a key component of economic growth, but entrepreneurs do not suddenly emerge. There is a process of gradual development of believing in oneself and identifying opportunities. Through our Innovate Programme young people participate in pitching sessions, business idea competitions and have access to incubators. Initiatives such as the School Entrepreneurship Conference, provide valuable support for our future businesspeople and fits in well with the Western Cape government’s youth entrepreneurship drive,” said Minister Winde.
The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found that South African had low levels of entrepreneurial activity.
South Africa’s pool of potential entrepreneurs among youth stands at just 20%, well below the 60% average for sub-Saharan Africa.
Minister Winde said the GEM report also cited a red tape as a restricting factor for small business.
“Entrepreneurs can only thrive in an enabling environment where unnecessary processes, namely red tape, are removed. The Western Cape Government launched its Red Tape to Red Carpet Programme in 2011 and encouragingly, the single most common query to the Red Tape call centre is from individuals wanting advice on how to start a business. This tells us that Western Cape residents have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and the drive it requires to implement their ideas. If equipped with the right tools and the right environment, these aspiring young entrepreneurs will make a significant contribution to growth and jobs in our province,” said Minister Winde.