Sixty seven youth taking part in Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa’s (CCBSA) Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) have advanced to the next exciting phase of selection. This will see them participate in a “bootcamp” where they will be equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to potentially manage one of the 45 “Bizniz in a Box” spaza shops available through the programme.
As part of its broader commitment to give back to communities across South Africa, CCBSA (South Africa’s largest bottler of Coca-Cola) launched its YEP in Rustenburg in October last year. Supported by the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (sefa), the YEP is one of CCBSA’s flagship projects under its Youth Empowerment pillar. Its focus on youth enterprise development is a key element of its corporate strategy – ensuring that the company increases economic opportunities for, and participation by South African youth, particularly in the communities where it operates.
The comprehensive rollout of the programme in Rustenburg received tremendous support from the community. While a collective 372 originally applied, this group has now been shortlisted down to the 67 bootcamp attendees. “After completing the bootcamp, they will then be considered for the opportunity to qualify to receive one of the spaza shop available to manage, with a view to paying it off and ultimately owning it,” explains Tsholofelo Mqhayi, Head: Enterprise and Community Development at CCBSA.
Mqhayi adds that the philosophy at the heart of the YEP stems from CCBSA’s commitment towards developing entrepreneurs who are committed to their own success. “South Africa needs entrepreneurs who can respond to rapidly changing business environments and adapt their SMEs accordingly. It is this type of thinking and approach we try to foster through the programme,” she says.
She adds that CCBSA is encouraged by new business models currently reshaping the industry’s ecosystem: “We’re excited about creating new possibilities that empower and cultivate a generation of self-starters among our youth.”
Bootcamp candidates can look forward to workshops that are fast-paced, interactive and focus on the daily challenges of business. The training will include business strategy, innovation and organisation design so that they’re better placed to turn their business ideas into reality.
“Through our YEP, we continue to create a stepping stone for enterprising youth to have their first real experience of business. By giving them this hand-up, we’re hoping to show them that there are real opportunities out there for them – and give them some of the tools they will need to pursue these. We look forward to our spaza shops becoming the catalyst for many more entrepreneurial ventures for these young people,” concludes Mqhayi.