QuickBooks steps up 2 back youth entrepreneurs

"Step Up 2 A Start Up IV: My Planet, My People, My Purpose"

Johannesburg, 19 Feb 2018
Read time 4min 40sec

In December 2017, government officials, key private and public sector stakeholders, media and the winning young entrepreneurs from the far corners of South Africa gathered at a glittering celebration of the 2017 step up 2 a start-up youth entrepreneurship awards.

This was the culmination of a five-month entrepreneurship development programme and competition for secondary school learners. With input from industry leaders and experts, the top nine entrepreneurial teams who demonstrated the most innovative social or environmental business model were selected through a national competition and three-stage adjudication process.

The teams were then brought to Johannesburg for a five-day intensive Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. The awards evening was the conclusion of the boot camp, where all finalists were awarded prizes (valued over R1.5 million) and the national winners announced. Prizes include business incubation, bursaries, cash, gadgets and lots more and QuickBooks was proud to be a part of this inspiring event.

The event, was hosted at the Southern Sun Arcadia by programme partner Tsogo Sun, and attended by the honourable Jeff Radebe, Minister Lindiwe Zulu and, executives from STEP UP sponsors. The learners were extremely excited about the evening, which started with them presenting their businesses to guests in a meet and greet fashion in the foyer before being awarded their respective places and prizes.

1st prize: Education Guide

Fisokuhle Lushaba and Wendy Nkosi are grade 11 students both aged 16 from Pace Secondary School, residing in Soweto. The team is creating better access for matric learners to information on bursaries and loans on tertiary education by creating an app called Education Guide. It allows students to compare universities, sponsorship, tuition, and majors that they can take on one platform without having to browse through hours of universities' and bursars' Web sites. The app also creates and maintains a database of students, which the universities subscribe to and have access to.

2nd prize: Tyres 4 Tiles

Destinee Regan and Sumaiya Lagardien hail from the Eastern Cape and attend Westering High School. They are both only 16 years old and their business plan entailed re-purposing tyres to make roof tiles for low cost houses. They embody true social entrepreneurship by addressing the lack of waterproofing homes and insulation in low cost houses/shacks.

3rd Prize: WeRecycle Recycle

Given Mofomme and Shaun Ngobeni are grade 11 students from Nellmapius Secondary School in Mamelodi, Pretoria aged 19 and 16 respectively. Given and Shaun have started a business that uses a fleet of cargo bicycles to provide households with convenient recycling services from the waste in their households. This service uses specially designed cargo bicycles to collect recyclable waste from people living in densely populated low- income neighbourhoods in their immediate community of Mamelodi.

"QuickBooks is heavily invested in the entrepreneurial space and believe that the future success of South Africa relies heavily on companies empowering young people who want to start sustainable entrepreneurial businesses by providing entrepreneurial skills and the tools they need to succeed. QuickBooks is proud to be involved in an Initiative such as STEP UP 2 A START UP which allows us to do just this," commented Gary Epstein, MD of EasyBiz QuickBooks.

The programme provides a step change in the lives of young people's economic prospects, self-confidence and ability to gain economic traction after completing high school. Primestars Managing Director Martin Sweet says: "Promoting and enabling the next generation of African entrepreneurs is both a business and a moral imperative. STEP UP 2 A START UP's aim is to achieve this by inspiring a culture of entrepreneurship and wealth creation early on in the career development path."

Step Up 2 A Start Up, now in its fourth year, is focused on social entrepreneurship and EasyBiz QuickBooks are proud to be a part of the Step Up 2 A Start Up National Youth Entrepreneurship programme. EasyBiz QuickBooks are known for their business management software that makes accounting easy and the reason for that is that EasyBiz was once a start-up business too. It was developed from the entrepreneurial spirit of Epstein who wanted to offer small to medium businesses the opportunity to take ownership of their business success and growth by offering them an accounting package that would help them to achieve these goals. EasyBiz have been there - done that, and are striving to share this knowledge and experience with their loyal customers to ensure that they bypass all of the possible pitfalls associated with the transition from being a small business to a big business.

QuickBooks is proud to be a part of Step up 2 a Start Up whose Public/Private Sector partnership sees incredible support from leading corporates as well as National and Provincial government. This is evidence of a growing willingness to boost the development of SMEs as a strategy to combat unemployment and QuickBooks is honoured to be one of the company's to share this vision with Primestars in an effort to offer young South Africans a better future.

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Fyfe PR Annie Fyfe-Hitchings
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