The school entrepreneurship conference, in its second year is taking place at place at the South Peninsula High School and is co-funded by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
The five day conference will has students from schools in Nyanga, Mitchells Plain, Philippi and Manenberg and will also be attended by Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism.
Key in the conference is the “Innovation Workshop” where the students are asked to find new business ideas from newspapers and on the final day the kids will pitch their concepts to a panel of judges for a cash prize to fund the top venture.
Last year students came up with a tutoring services business, a babysitting company and an outfit hire for special events.
According to Minister Winde, the conference complemented the Western Cape Government’s Innovate programme, which he said aims at fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation among the youth who are also the highest unemployed in South Africa.
The Innovate Programme works in partnership with leading tertiary institutions, such as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town in the province.
According to Minister Winde,”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.”
This program is also aimed at promoting general entreprenuership in the country at a time the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor claim South Africa had low levels of entrepreneurial activity with a pool of potential entrepreneurs among youth standing at just 20%, several times low compared to to Ssub-Saharan Africa’s 60% average.