Thursday, 02 December 2021

Fostering the Entrepreneurial Spirit of Soweto Youth

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Now more than ever, safety and security have become a priority for many South Africans. According to the Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey, housebreaking is the most common crime in the country. The number of households that experienced this crime increased from 2.1 million in 2015/16 to 2.3 million in 2019/20. This, coupled with the recent pandemic, riots, and looting has left many South Africans feeling scared, vulnerable and unsure of their safety.

In light of this, the launch of the Ikasi Secure Project by MeMeZa, the Community Policing Forum and SAPS today in Soweto is not only highly anticipated but much-needed. “The Ikasi Project aims to improve safety in Soweto. At the same time, the project fosters an entrepreneurial spirit by empowering the youth and creating a business model that can be scaled across the rest of South Africa,” explains Elmarie Pereira, Chief Operations Officer at MeMeZa Community Safety.

“We selected nine young and aspiring entrepreneurs from Soweto to join the Ikasi Project, who will learn the skills required to run a business all while gaining experience and earning a monthly income for 18 months. At the end of the project, these youths will have the option to either continue their work with Ikasi or take their learnings and apply it to their own business initiatives and projects,” she added.

The Ikasi Secure Project launch forms part of the Protea Glen SAPS 16 Days of Activism launch event. Around 150 community members and leaders attended the event to kick-off 16 Days of Activism activities at the Protea South Multi-Purpose Hall and officially launch the Ikasi Project. Some esteemed VIP delegates were also present to introduce the project to the community and personal alarms were donated to the most vulnerable people attending the event. The nine entrepreneurs were also in attendance to give their encouraging testimonies.

First-of-its-kind safety solutions

The Ikasi Project includes two product offerings that young entrepreneurs have the opportunity to sell - the Ikasi Secure Mobile Application and the MeMeZa Community Alarm System.

It allows users to panic from their mobile phones and get 24/7 medical and security responses. Once activated, the Ikasi Secure app broadcasts your location to all the nearest responding partners as well as Ikasi’s 24-hour Command Centre. This allows responders to track you in real-time. Through the Ikasi Secure Mobile App, users will have access to over 150 trained armed responders anytime, anywhere.

The MeMeZa Community Alarm System is an innovative product developed in partnership with the

Secretariat for Police and National Community Policing Board and private sectors to address the challenges of the safety of the most vulnerable people in society. This easy-to-use community alarm system allows a direct link to a 24/7 private response and any selected neighbours, family and friends. It also links users to the closest Community Policing Forums and SAPS. The product includes an installed alarm system, remote control and siren.

“By providing the youth of the community the opportunity to sell these innovative and sometimes life-saving products, we bring affordable security to the homes of Soweto, ultimately creating a safer place to live. We’re also providing a sustainable income to aspiring and inspiring entrepreneurs for the duration of the project,” Pereira continues. “Nine entrepreneurs from the focus areas in Soweto have already been chosen, and we’re excited to see them and the community flourish with this initiative. Initiative. We urge the community and business owners of Soweto to support these young entrepreneurs.”

The MeMeZa Shout Crime Prevention was founded by Mrs Thulile Mthethwa in 2012 to provide affordable, innovative safety technology to the most vulnerable people in society. “Through our well-established partnerships, our goal is to offer a first-of-its-kind public safety solution,” Pereira continues.

The Ikasi Project was part of a social entrepreneurship grant sponsored through E Squared, a South African impact investment fund dedicated to providing an economically inclusive country with meaningful opportunity for everyone. “It is our hope that we will continue working with the E Squared team to scale the programme further in the future. It is a wonderful entrepreneurial opportunity for many youth in South Africa, while ensuring communities become safer,” Pereira concludes.

About MeMeZa

Since its launch in 2012, MeMeZa’s vision has been aligned to the National Development Plan on Safety with the idea that by 2030, people living in South Africa should have no fear of crime. Through community-focused protection, MeMeZa provides technology and tools to vulnerable communities, enabled through Public and Private Partnerships, Corporate Social Responsibility and Enterprise Development Projects. Based in Gauteng, MeMeZa’s strong capabilities and operational excellence mean they can deliver on a national level in all nine provinces, serving communities across South Africa.

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