Empowering Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs: TCB Youth Development Programme

In the heart of Atlantis, a transformative initiative called Lokshin Economiz has been making waves in the lives of Grade 10 learners, providing them with a unique Entrepreneur and Business Development experience. Over the course of 8 months, this program has not only opened doors to the world of business but has empowered the youth to take charge of their futures.

This practical and engaging youth entrepreneurship programme was developed by Taking Care of Business (TCB) and delivered in collaboration with IKamvaYouth and volunteer staff from Direct Axis, a business unit of FirstRand Bank Limited, thanks to the financial support of FirstRand Foundation.

Partnerships that Ignite Change

“This programme is a testament to the power of collaboration,” says Nicky Edwards, TCB Reskill Programme Lead. “In partnership with Direct Axis, the program brought in dedicated volunteer mentors — FirstRand Bank staff passionate about people development. These mentors invested their time, guiding and inspiring Grade 10 learners from four schools in the Atlantis community. In addition, the collaboration with IKamvaYouth provided comprehensive on-site mentoring and ongoing support for the participants. Everyone played to their unique strengths to make this a safe and engaging experience for the learners.”

Seeding Success: From Business Theory to Practice

The essence of this youth entrepreneurship programme lies in its practical approach to entrepreneurship. Armed with a bit of seed money, learners were tasked with a unique challenge: to earn their seed money to help them start up their businesses (with support from TCB)!

TCB donated various items of clothing, jewellery, and accessories to each group (from their Resell programme). The learners, in turn, took these goods back to their community, applied a mark-up, and sold the products. The funds raised served as seed money for their budding businesses, enabling them to invest in stock and truly experience the entrepreneurial journey.

Holistic Learning for Holistic Growth

The program’s curriculum was designed to provide a holistic learning experience. Covering aspects of life planning, the Business Model Canvas, self-identity, business ethics, personal effectiveness, personal branding, presentation skills, and money management, it equipped the learners with a diverse set of skills crucial for success in the business world.

Nicky expressed her delight at witnessing the transformation of the learners: “During this program, I saw the learners blossom. They went from timid or disinterested to engaged, confident, and open to learning. Our sincere thanks to FirstRand Foundation and iKamva Youth for partnering with TCB on this impactful youth development program.”

Year after Year: Impactful Growth

Now in its second year, Lokshin Economiz has proven to be a life-changing initiative. The learners have learned some tough but practical business lessons while running their small businesses, including the importance of avoiding credit sales, maintaining quality control in product creation, communication skills, pricing strategies and the importance of exceptional customer service.

The programme is also making sustainable impact. Many learners from the 2022 programme are still running their businesses and making money. “This speaks to the valuable skills learnt from the programme. Learners are realising that you don’t have to wait for a job to come along or to rely on handouts. When you are self-employed you can care for yourself,” says Celeste Erasmus, one of the programme trainers. “The power is in their hands to run a successful business and to provide for themselves.”

Celebrating Success: The Money Chasers and The Multi-Taskers

As a testament to their newfound entrepreneurial spirit, two teams stood out. The Money Chasers, with their product range of popcorn, scrunchies, water bottles, mugs, and biltong, secured an impressive profit of R1 655. However, taking the top spot was The Multi-Taskers, whose business concept of selling muffins, biscuits, popcorn, and lemon squares resulted in a remarkable profit of R2 915.

On Tuesday,16th January we took the winning team, the Multi-Taskers, out on their grand prize: a shopping spree at TCB and an outing around the Cape Town Peninsula with their mentors. The day included the famous Farris Wheel in the V&A Waterfront, Sea Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay where the learners enjoyed a traditional Cape Town favourite, fish and chips, for lunch.

“Wow, it was an amazing day! The learners were very grateful for the outing and for exposing them to things they were not used to or would not even have the opportunity to enjoy. A huge thank you to Direct Axis and FirstRand Foundation for affording the learners this wonderful, eye-opening experience of a lifetime,” says Nicky.

Mentors say they learnt as much from the learners as they taught them.

The 5 volunteer mentors from Direct Axis say that this programme has been fulfilling and worthwhile. Sincere thanks to Adiel, Varity, Shannon, Joel and Sergio.

“Everything about the programme was special. I will never forget the energy in the sessions,” says Adiel.

“This programme taught the learners resilience, that they are ENOUGH, and that your feelings are valid. From a business point of view I can see that the learners now know how to make money independently which built their confidence and leadership skills,” says Varity.

“Seeing the change in the learners was incredible. They became confident, motivated, and more aware of their impact and how important they are as people,” says Shannon.

“The highlight of this programme was the powerful relationships built between learners and mentors, which will support them for years to come,” says Joel.

“I am so impressed by how the learner’s confidence developed over the programme,” says Sergio.

Lokshin Economiz is not just a program; it's a journey of empowerment, education, and entrepreneurship.

As these Grade 10 learners step into the wider world, they carry with them the lessons, experiences, and networks that will shape their futures and contribute to the growth of their communities.

If your organisation is interested in hosting or sponsoring a youth entrepreneurship programme, please reach out to Nicky Edwards here.

TCB – Taking Care of Business us a non-profit social enterprise. We are empowering unemployed South Africans and their families to escape the cycle of poverty through small business opportunities, mostly within the circular economy.