Monday, 20 August 2018

Youngsters step up to tech entrepreneurship

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Johannesburg, 27 July 2018 – Now in its fifth successive year, the Primestars Step Up 2 A Start Up programme continues to expose thousands of young South Africans to vital lessons in entrepreneurship. Each year the programme builds on global trends in entrepreneurship and seeks to inspire participants to explore these trends in the context of their surroundings, looking for business solutions to real problems in their communities. To date, the programme has reached nearly 65,000 learners nationwide.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution in full swing, technology-based businesses will provide solutions to many of these problems, creating unprecedented opportunities on which youth can capitalize. As such, the theme chosen for this year’s Step Up 2 A Start Up programme is “Think Tech. Do Business”, encouraging learners to embrace technology as a platform for small business creation. 

Technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, the internet of things, augmented reality, virtual reality and more, are creating new industries, products, services and occupations at an extraordinary rate. While the industrial era offered a world of work that was largely predictable, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has ushered in an era of massive interconnectedness and boundless potential.

“Standard Bank is committed to entrepreneurship and we promote it among the Youth through exposing them to relevant financial skills that can turn their ‘hustle’ to commercial value and get them closer to their Next. The partnership with Step Up to A Start Up and Prime Stars Marketing complements the current Standard Bank ‘My Fearless Next’ campaign and our long-standing support of small businesses” said Thulani Sibeko, Chief Marketing Officer.

“Sasol has once again come on-board as a national sponsor of the annual Step Up 2 A Start-Up initiative, aimed at providing secondary school learners with the right tools to become entrepreneurs. Sasol is supporting the programme for the fifth consecutive year. The theme for this year’s Step Up 2 A Start-Up is “Think Tech. Do Business”. High school learners will be challenges to come up with innovative ideas that speak to the theme and also recognise the era that we are in, which is that of the Fourth Industrial Revolution” said Abey Tau, Corporate Affairs, Sasol Social Investment.

Online platforms are improving how supply meets demand, digital machines are overcoming their past limitations and excelling beyond human capabilities and companies are outsourcing key aspects of business at much lower costs. As the cornerstone of this year’s Step Up 2 A Start Up programme, learners will be exposed to how technology lowers the barriers of entry, levels the playing field and enables start-ups to compete in an age of increasing automation.

“Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) is a proud partner of the Step Up 2A Start Up initiative.  Our involvement is based on a firm belief that this programme nurtures a culture of entrepreneurship among school learners from townships and rural areas. The programme is exposing them early to entrepreneurship attributes required to successfully venture into business. School learners also get a chance to start small enterprises and get to be exposed earlier to available support from Seda and other institutions.  We are mindful that these businesses will also face risks, some will fail, some will succeed and certainly, all learners that pass through this programme will remain potential and intentional entrepreneurs.  The lean methodology approach which is followed is an extremely practical, effective and fun for learners”- CEO of Seda Ms Mandisa Tshikwatamba.

“We are always happy to support initiatives that assist in creating sustainable enterprises that contribute to community upliftment and job creation.   We also believe that this begins with our youth as our business leaders of the future. We are encouraged that our support of the Step Up to a Start Up programme will help to unearth some amazingly talented young innovators, who will go on to build sustainable businesses and industries in line with our national aspirations of creating home grown industrialists,” says Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager, MTN SA Foundation.

Sustainable economic development is only possible through small business development and new venture creation, and South African youth must be groomed to lead this charge. This is the sentiment expressed at the programme launched by Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Small Business Development, highlighting how youth can harness their digital future to build start-ups that will solve problems in their communities and the world at large. International businessman, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad and longtime advocate for the Step Up 2 A Start Up programme, Mr. Robert Kiyosaki, reinforced the need to develop entrepreneurial skills at a young age. 

From the 18th of August to the 8th of September 2018, learners in Grades 9 - 11 will begin their journey into the world of tech entrepreneurship at one of 14 Ster Kinekor cinemas nationwide. Here they will enjoy a custom produced educational movie titled …, the story of a young lady who discovers technology, designs a business and changes her future and the future of her community. In addition, the lessons learnt in the movie will be reinforced through a Toolkit given to each participant. The Toolkit will assist the learners to implement the skills learnt and will allow them to develop their own business ideas and models. 

As the Step Up 2 A Start Up programme enters its second phase, learners will be given the opportunity to compete in an entrepreneurial competition by submitting their business model canvasses for assessment and adjudication by a panel of industry professionals and sponsors. During this process, at least nine top business models will be identified and the teams responsible will be invited to attend a boot camp in Johannesburg. This boot camp will hone and polish participants’ skills as they start to think more about developing and starting their businesses based on the ideas they submitted. The boot camp concludes with a prestigious Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony.

Primestars believes that given the right assistance from passionate individuals and organisations, our youth will be able to create and develop new businesses, which in turn will have a positive impact on the economy and reduce the rate of youth unemployment in South Africa. We need to help our young people  realise that there are infinite possibilities available to them.

Organisations interested in supporting this initiative may contact Primestars Marketing. 

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Note to editors- additional statements from sponsors and partners 

Tsogo Sun
“Through Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs, the group has been committed to entrepreneurial growth and transformation to a more empowered society for 13 years, contributing to small business successes and providing practical support. It’s this investment, together with our group strategy of collaborations with other organisations that complement our goals, that make our involvement in the Primestars’ Step Up 2 A Start Up programme an ideal fit for us. We are proud to partner with a results-orientated initiative that inspires and upskills young learners to prepare them for a brighter future in entrepreneurial endeavours.” said Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s General Manager of Corporate Affairs.

Proudly SA
Eustace Mashimbye, CEO of Proudly South African who are one of the programme’s sponsors commented “After being part of the adjudication panel last year I am very excited to see what ideas will come out of this year’s Step Up 2 a Start Up initiative. And who better to innovate in the field of technology than the youth who value being connected and finding information and services via their cell phones above everything! We want to instill the importance of local ideas, executed locally using local materials and expertise into these Step Up participants, as only by increased local procurement can we grow the economy and job opportunities for them.”
Empowering and developing our youth is at the heart of’s Corporate Social Investment strategy and our continual support towards the Step Up 2 A Start Up programme is a testament to this. The programme offers students the opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial spirit through creative learning and thinking by challenging them to come up with solutions for the modern world, which is synonymous with the kulula brand promise. kulula was born out of pure entrepreneurial spirit to find a solution that made travel accessible to all. As a brand we therefore realise the importance to inspire the next generation so that they can bring hope to the many challenges that we face daily. Luane Lavery (Brand Communication Manager BA &

Regenesys Business School
Regenesys Business School is proud to be associated with the Step Up 2 A Start Up programme. We fully support initiatives that awaken the entrepreneurial spirit of our learners and their positive impact on our economy. Primestars should be commended for their efforts as this initiative has touched the lives of 65,000 learners from perviously disadvantaged schools. Regenesys Business School is committed to this initiative as we work towards developing future leaders who contribute meaningfully to the South African economy.

Gearhouse SA
Gearhouse SA is proud to be offering technical support services to Primestars on the launch of the Step up 2 a start-up Youth Entrepreneurial Development initiative. It’s an honour for us to be involved in this campaign as it aims to empower the youth of our country. The initiative is directly aligned with our business objectives to make a positive impact in skills development for the benefit of future South Africans.

This year top South African Prosperator™, Raizcorp, is one of our sponsors. Raizcorp has almost two decades of experience supporting small businesses, and is deeply committed to effectively empowering the young South African entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The future growth of the economy and the creation of desperately needed jobs lie in the hands of our youth, and Raizcorp is proud to be a partner in this great initiative. 

Business Engage & 30% Club Southern Africa
The 30% Club is an international campaign to get more women onto listed boards and includes approximately 800 Chairmen, CEOs and senior partners of some of the largest organisations internationally who add their voice because they believe more diversity, including gender diversity, makes business sense.  Focus is also placed on the pipeline to create sustainable change which is exactly why the partnership with Primestars is so important as the pipeline stretches from schoolroom to boardroom. In South Africa and East Africa, the 30% Club is managed by Business Engage, a nonprofit organisation established in 2005 by Colleen Larsen.  The 30% Club Southern Africa has 52 large corporates involved including Barloworld Equipment, Absa, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Investec, Webber Wentzel, Bowmans, PwC, Deloitte, etc. Colleen Larsen, MD: Business Engage Southern Africa 

For media enquiries or interview requests please contact
Sibongile Khulu - Primestars
Tel: 0718502207 / 0114304740   I   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Science and Education