The Free State and Gauteng economic departments are partnering with Coca-Cola this month in an entrepreneurship programme for the youth. The Bizniz in a Box Programme gives young entrepreneurs an opportunity to do a 90-second business elevator pitch on Lesedi FM. They stand a chance to win one of 10 mobile kitchens worth R82,000. The competition, which has been in existence since 2016, started this week and ends on 30 June.
According to Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA), Bizniz in a Box is dedicated to creating opportunities to integrate the youth into the economy. The aim is to contribute toward revitalising the township economy and supporting the country’s development agenda. The initiative has trained over 700 entrepreneurs since its inception and helps transform aspirant entrepreneurs into fully-fledged business owners. CCBSA Communication and Sustainability Director Nozicelo Ngcobo said that the initiative was not a handout, but instead offered holistic support that would enable youngsters to build their businesses and move to the next level of entrepreneurship.
“With the staggering statistics, we need to be deliberate about listening and responding to what our communities need,” she said. CCBSA Managing Director Velaphi Ratshefola said that the low level of employment was an untenable situation. “We believe in using our industry leadership to be part of the solution to achieve positive change in the country and build a legacy that we can be proud of, hence our strong emphasis on economic inclusion, particularly of young people through our Bizniz in a Box initiative,” he said.
“The decision to partner with the Free State and Gauteng governments since 2016 was a natural progression towards working jointly to alleviate youth employment. “Through our collaboration to empower SMMEs by setting them up in business, we can go further and also provide incubation and support through training and resources to ensure they grow their business to create livelihoods for themselves and other young people.”
Gauteng Economic Development MEC Parks Tau welcomed the programme. “The department is excited about this initiative and encourages young people in Gauteng to take advantage of it and other programmes aimed at youth empowerment offered by the province,” he said. “This is but one of many programmes that would be rolled out throughout the Youth Month aimed at connecting young people to opportunities provided by the government and the private sector.”
In 2021, a total of 118 entrepreneurs in Gauteng and the Free State were supported through the initiative. This year the plan is to bolster 135 businesses from the municipalities of Maluti-a-Phofung, Dihlabeng, Ngwathe, Setsoso, and the Joburg and Ekurhuleni metros.