Innovator Trust honours Free State Top Achievers
Innovator Trust recently recognised their Top Achievers in the Free State from its Youth Entrepreneur Programme (YEP). Formed in 2017 by Vodacom and Innovator Trust, YEP aims to equip local youth with the requisite set of skills to become cutting-edge entrepreneurs.
Tebogo Koloku, Tshepo Thomas Rangwako and Maleshwane Mohlauli were the three hardworking and ambitious graduates honoured at this ceremony as Top Achievers.
Teaching budding entrepreneurs new skills
YEP provides the youth with the necessary skills to succeed in the business world. From learning how to work with peers and present with confidence, to managing or running a small enterprise and effective time management, all three Top Achievers know they have gained essential skills to make their ventures successful.
When asked how they felt about being Top Achievers, the answers were unanimous - they felt grateful and honoured to be selected. Throughout the programme, they all used the resources made available to them, asking questions to empower themselves and made the most of their learnings. They share a common goal: success in their field of operation.
Mohlauli noted that she was excited throughout the year, working and studying at the same time was challenging yet, she managed and was recognised as a Top Achiever.
Koloku added, “What excited me about this program is that it urged me to go out there and try something new for the first time”.
The tailor-made programme is designed to drive innovation and create job opportunities that could bring significant changes to the local economy. To achieve this, requires a special kind of person; someone who is determined to succeed - even in a community opportunities seem unlikely.
When asked how he chose this programme, Rangwako said: “To show my capabilities, implement my skills and knowledge to improve my business skills”.
“The sense of having to try something new, getting out of my comfort zone as I wasn't so keen about business. The struggle we face each and every day looking for jobs while we can start our own businesses with programs like this that empower and provide us with necessary skills that will enable us to apply in the business world,” added Koloku.
Looking back: what they would tell their past self
When asked what advice our Top Achievers would give their past self, the answers ranged from facing challenges head-on, instead of running away from them, to focusing on being part of the solution, and not the problem. They also mentioned that they should take every opportunity that knocks on your door, as it may be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Graduation and next steps: where to now?
Graduating from the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme opens doors for the graduates. They may feel more empowered to chase their dreams, or even have the know-how to take that next crucial step to make their dream a reality.
Mohlauli is the first to graduate in her family, which is a great achievement. She plans to build her company with the skills and knowledge gained through the programme. She hopes to build her own empire to create a better life for her family.
Koloku wants to secure funds to open his business and his long-term goals include “creating jobs and empowering youth to chase their dreams”.
Rangwako wants to change the business world in the long-term by developing an app targeting brand owners and trademark owners to help identify counterfeit products. He wishes to have the app available for free to empower the end-users.