Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) provides engaging entrepreneurial programmes, which foster confident and empowered young people who are possibility seekers and creators of opportunities. Through these programmes, JASA aims to contribute to meaningful economic participation by nurturing entrepreneurial thinking among young people.
JASA is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide (JA Worldwide), one of the largest business education organisations in the world, operating in over 121 countries globally, including 16 in Africa.
As long ago as 1979, Dr. Steven Black realised the potential for the JA programmes, launched in 1919 in the United States, to make a positive contribution to economic and social transformation in South Africa. With the help and guidance of business advisors – volunteers from funding companies – young people from both the previously whites-only areas and the townships, were brought together to learn business and entrepreneurial skills through practical and experiential programmes.
Since then, JASA has been providing these essential skills to young people of all ages and across the country, in both rural and urban environments. Children as young as eight years of age are exposed to entrepreneurial and business activities in a fun and interactive manner. The core programme is one for young people from the ages of 16 to 25, where under the guidance of highly trained facilitators, participants are introduced to key business concepts before launching a small business of their own.
In 2012, JASA announced the launch of their Youth Enterprise Development Programme, specifically targeted at those between the ages of 18 and 35. The objective of the programme is to decrease the high youth unemployment rate, by providing second chance opportunities for school leavers and the young unemployed, in post school educational programmes, with a particular emphasis on entrepreneurship. The initiative takes the form of an intensive incubator style entrepreneurship skills programme, while providing for traditional workplace readiness skills and workplace experience in the running of their own businesses.
In 2012, JASA reached over 19 000 learners from both primary and high schools across all nine provinces of South Africa. JASA’s reach extends to all areas of South Africa – urban, sub-urban and rural – and the organisation offers programmes suitable for all of South Africa’s youth.
South Africa’s current economic challenges and the high level of unemployed youth in the country, allow JASA to continue to shape young entrepreneurs and nurture entrepreneurial thinking. While the Department of Education is doing its best to improve the education system in the country, the current curriculum is severely inadequate, specifically regarding entrepreneurship. The lack of an entrepreneurial culture in the country has resulted in there being no natural progression to entrepreneurship for young school leavers. JASA’s effective programmes have shown the organisation’s ability to make a real difference to the youth unemployment rate, by promoting entrepreneurship and creating an entrepreneurial culture. However, the current economic climate has also contributed to a slow-down in funding for programmes this year, a challenge faced by most NGOs. JASA relies on funding from various sources to continue to make a difference. With additional funding, the organisation could reach an even greater number of learners and out of school youth in future.
Financial Literacy Programmes:
- More Than Money – a six to ten hour programme that teaches learners about earning, spending, sharing, and saving money, and businesses they can start or jobs they can perform to earn money. This programme is exclusively funded by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). Suitable for Grades 5 to 7;
- MMBiz – a 12 to 15-hour programme for high school learners, to assist them in learning how to manage their financial lives in a responsible way. The programme will develop their ability to analyse their motivations about the uses of money, and establish good financial habits, which can carry over into their adult lives. Suitable for Grades 10 to 12 and out of school youth;
- Banks in Action Programme – a 16-hour programme that explores the banking sector, how a bank functions and careers in banking, with a computer simulation exercise of running a ‘real’ bank. Suitable for Grades 10 to 12 and out of school youth.
Entrepreneurial Development Programmes:
- Enterprise Dynamics Programme – a 42-hour programme divided into four phases, introducing learners to the concepts of the economic life of families, communities and countries. Learners explore setting up a mini business to learn the theory and practicalities of small businesses. Learners are also introduced to the knowledge and skills required to access future employment. Suitable for Grades 4 to 7;
- Environmental Entrepreneurs Programme – a 12-hour programme that focuses on promoting an understanding of the challenges of climate change, and how changes in behaviour can mitigate these challenges. It aims to encourage responsibility and cooperation among the learners, as these characteristics are necessary to drive personal habits, which can ensure environmental sustainability. The programme culminates in the launch of a recycling project, initiated by the learners, encouraging socially responsible businesses. Suitable for Grade 5 to 7;
- It’s My Business – a 12-hour programme that emphasises entrepreneurship, whilst providing a strong focus on social studies, reading, and writing skills. Learners are encouraged to use critical thinking to learn entrepreneurial skills that support positive attitudes, as they explore and enhance their career aspirations. Suitable for Grades 9 to 10;
- Be Entrepreneurial – a 12-hour programme during which learners develop the essential components of a business plan. In so doing, the programme challenges learners to start an entrepreneurial venture while still in high school. Suitable for Grades 9 to 12;
- The Mini Enterprise Programme – a 33-hour intensive business programme taking place over 12 weeks, where learners start up and run their own business after selecting a product or service. Suitable for Grades 10 to 12;
- JA Titan – a 12-hour programme that introduces learners to critical economics and management decisions through an interactive computer based simulation. Suitable for Grades 10 to 12;
- Youth Enterprise Development Programme – a 20 session incubator style programme spanning three months, during which students are required to start up and run a business that will be sustainable, through on-going support, mentorship, and financing upon programme completion. The programme includes site visits, case studies, guest speakers, and an introduction to micro finance. Suitable for ages 18 to 35. Acceptance onto this programme is subject to a selection process.
- JA Success Skills – a 12-hour programme that prepares learners for entry into the workplace by covering crucial issues, such as self-assessment, communication skills, preparing for job interviews, compiling a good CV, as well as team work, building rapport and influencing others. Suitable for Grades 10 to 12;
- Discover Your Career – During the course of this four to five hour workshop, learners are introduced to a range of career options. The workshop also provides an opportunity for the learners to understand their particular skills and interests and how these relate to successful career choices. The learners will also sit a skills and personality assessment test, which is administered and assessed by trained facilitators, after which each learner will receive written individual feedback, guiding them further in their particular career choices. Suitable for Grades 10 to 11.
- The JASA Entrepreneurship Academy Programme – a seven to eight month long programme with weekly sessions of three hours each, incorporating entrepreneurial, financial literacy and workplace readiness programmes, as well as micro-economics and business ethics. Suitable for Grades 10 to 12. Acceptance into this programme is subject to a selection process.
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