13 Youth Initiatives and Support Networks to Join This Youth Month

Updated on 1 June 2020

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This article forms part of our Youth Month 2020 series, #WeMove, providing youth-focused tools and resources to help you to start TODAY.

Also in the series:
Business Funding Opportunities for Youth in South Africa
The Best Time to Start a Business is Now – 10 PLUS Business Ideas for Youth

Blackboard Africa, an organisation working to foster conversations among SA youth hosts events across the country, this includes their ‘Big Sister Little Sister x Big Brother Little Brother’s series.

This Youth Month may not be about celebrating, but is rather a manifesto for young people to START. You don’t have to go at it alone, below is a list of youth initiatives and support organisations working to empower young entrepreneurs in all spheres. 

1. Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator (Youth Job Seekers)

Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator is an accelerator programme that helps thousands of young South Africans to acquire skills that enable them to get and keep a job. It’s a free opportunity for unemployed job seekers.

They also aid the SME sector through offering subsidised fees, post placement support and a HR Toolkit.  They are currently working with Funzi during Covid-19, offering free and premium courses on their website where the youth can register and upskill themselves in the areas of Professionalism, Hygiene and Community. 

2. GirlCode (Female Coders)

GirlCode is a social enterprise that empowers young girls and women in the field of technology and coding. They run various initiatives the first being GirlCoder, a programme which focuses on teaching coding and robotic skills to primary and high school girls.

They also offer workshop and vacation work where they teach coding skills to unemployed women and university/college female students. GirlCode has an annual hackathon that aims to spotlight female tech talent who are currently studying an IT related course.

Zandile Mkwanazi, chairwoman of GirlCode, “As challenging as this time has been for everyone, more so the youth of South Africa with unemployment expected to skyrocket. I encourage everyone to view this as an opportunity to reinvent themselves, re-skill themselves and take up the many opportunities available in the technological space.”

“Become distinct and realise that post COVID-19, the jobs economy will be replaced by the skills economy and you need to capacitate with a skill set that can be commercialised.”- Danie Jacobs, Founder and Executive Director of Young Entrepreneurs

3. Digify Africa (Digital Marketing Mavericks)

Digify Africa is a digital skills training initiative that aims to create meaningful opportunities for young disadvantaged individuals in South Africa and Africa as a whole.

In South Africa they have partnered with Facebook to give young people the opportunity to partake in a ten week digital skills boot camp called DigifyPro, where they prepare the youth for a career in digital marketing. They recently announced that DigifyPro is back and will be conducted online, keep your eyes on their social media pages if you are interested. 

4. SAB Kickstart (Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative)

The Kickstart Boost programme wants to help entrepreneurs aged between 18-35. They are looking to support businesses that have been operating for more than two years with a turnover of less than R5 milion and are in need of coaching or loan funding to grow to become supply-chain ready.

Kickstart Ignite assists youth entrepreneurs who have business idea or prototype ready.

5. #Back2Kasi (Kasi Entrepreneurs)

#Back2Kasi is Emmanuel Bonoko’s brainchild. They bring together South African business heavyweights in the same room to inspire township youth. #Back2Kasi seminars are conducted in townships across the country including Tembisa, Soweto, Alexandra and Cosmo City, among others.

Bonoko started this initiative with the aim to empower as many young people as possible. This is done through exposing them to success stories and providing them with access to information and networks. 

6. Red Bull Amaphiko (Social Changers)

Red Bull Amaphiko is a programme for social entrepreneurs/innovators, that began in 2014. The programme helps social entrepreneurs to create sustainable change for their communities. Amaphiko is a Zulu word that means ‘wings’ and the initiative has taken place globally, including countries across Europe, Africa, North and South America.

In South Africa the programme has taken place in Soweto, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. Part of Red Bull Amaphiko is the Amaphiko Academy which involves an 18-month programme where participants are teamed up with a mentor. 

Nhlanhla Ndlovu is a qualified bricklayer and his business provides skills and opportunities for young people living in Soweto. Ndlovu’s project, Hustlenomics, works with shack dwellers on their premises to convert their homes into proper, safe structures. Ndlovu took part in Red Bull Amaphiko for his business Hustlenomics in 2017.

7. Blackboard Africa (Youth Social Activism Organisation)

Blackboard Africa is a youth organisation working to foster conversations among South African youth whilst connecting them with other young people who face similar challenges.

Blackboard hosts events across the country, this includes their ‘Big Sister Little Sister X Big Brother Little Brother’s series and Blackboard Relay, both of which aim to provide a forum to pass on the ‘baton’ of knowledge between generations, they also run a youth-centred interactive book club.

8. eKasi Entrepreneurs (Kasi Hustlers)

This organisation works as a catalyst for youth entrepreneurship in townships. The non-profit company develops township entrepreneurs through training and development, access to resources, information, finance and business tools and other integrated programmes.

9. She Leads Africa (Women Entrepreneurship Support)

She Leads Africa is a community of young African women working to empower other young women to achieve their professional dreams. They achieve all this through engaging online content and events.

The SLA website offers resources and guides that help empower women and gives advice on entrepreneurship and careers. 

10. Young Entrepreneurs Foundation (School-age Entrepreneurs)

Young Entrepreneurs is an organisation that teaches children between the ages of 7-18 entrepreneurial, financial, employability and workplace readiness skills. They also help them start and grow their own micro-enterprises in a fun and experiential way.

Their programmes are designed to encourage entrepreneurial thinking and spark entrepreneurial spirit, whilst inspiring young people to live their dreams.

11. Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) (Moguls in the Making)

JASA is an organisation that empowers the youth through the provision of practical skills in entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness. JASA offers programmes to learners in primary schools, high schools and out of school.

They serve in all nine provinces in South Africa and have been a part of JA Worldwide for 40 years. They are currently running a #KeepLearning initiative, where they also offer online learning programmes. 

12. Youth Economic Alliance (YEA) (Youth Mavericks)

YEA is an organisation that aims to drive the development and advancement of youth entrepreneurship in South Africa. They do this through programmes that aim to address youth unemployment and granting the youth opportunities to develop businesses.

YEA also provides access to resources and connections that help to empower young people to see their potential.  

13. Future Females (Woman Entrepreneurship Support)

Future Female is a movement that aims to inspire female entrepreneurs. Future Females provides a platform where female entrepreneurs can connect, inspire and collaborate with each other either digitally, physically or emotionally whilst accessing resources that equip them with the necessary skills to succeed.

Future Females has a business school, where they provide knowledge to female tech entrepreneurs and equip them on how to transform their ideas into feasible and profitable businesses. 


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