Young Entrepreneurs Pitch to Innovator Trust Virtual Business Presentation Panel with Ayanda Thabethe

By The Innovator Trust on 27 Aug 20

Young Entrepreneurs Pitch to Innovator Trust Virtual Business Presentation Panel with Ayanda Thabethe

It is in the doing that one moves from dreamer to a true entrepreneur. That was the common distinction evident among five resilient, inspiring, and hardworking young entrepreneurs who last week had the opportunity to present their business plans as part of the Innovator Trust’s 2020 Youth Entrepreneurial Programme (YEP).

The last six months have been anything but easy for Thembekile Duze, Thato Mangena, Constance Mokgabudi, Sezeni Dladla and Emihle Soekatsha, who despite a global pandemic and strict lockdown restrictions making it difficult to conduct any business activities, soldiered on putting in the work and hours to fulfil the programme’s requirements, earning each of them a spot in the Top 5 Business Presentations of the Innovator Trust’s 2020 YEP cohort of beneficiaries.


In a 2-day round of virtual presentations, the budding entrepreneurs had the opportunity to pitch their business plans to a panel of six which included Innovator Trust CEO, Tashline Jooste, Enterprise Development Manager, Linda Ndwandwe, Vodacom Education Project Coordinator, Pulser Moloi, Programme Facilitators, Norman Manganyi and Joel Emmanuel, as well as guest panellist, South African media personality, Ayanda Thabethe, who is no stranger to the entrepreneurial journey with first-hand experience running her own marketing outfit, Buzzworthy Productions since 2011. 

The panel were wowed by the business pitches from the YEP participants which varied in subject matter from an online training centre for up and coming electrical trade artisans, a media and advertising solutions company, an ICT-focused youth academy and even an ambitious presentation on a virtual gaming amusement park concept, proving that in the realm of monetising ideas, there is no excuse and certainly no lack of imagination. “Hard work beats talent every day. I am really inspired by the work that the Innovator Trust is doing with youth in South Africa. Put your head down, concentrate on what you’re doing, take it one chunk at a time and you’ll definitely succeed,” were the words from Ayanda Thabethe to the 2020 YEP Top 5. 

The Innovator Trust’s YEP programme was launched in 2017 with the aim to provide local unemployed youth with the practical skills, facilitated training and mentorship support required for young business owners who are just starting out with the ultimate outcome to stimulate job creation and drive innovation among ICT focused small businesses.  

South Africa’s small business sector has long been touted as an economic area requiring critical attention in order to combat the country’s ailing economy and rising unemployment rate, specifically among young citizens under 35. “The critique is often made that as a country, we are simply just not doing enough to assist small business owners with the necessary support and funding needed to get their feet off the ground. This is precisely why the YEP programme from Innovator Trust exists, we want our entrepreneurs to know that they are not alone in the entrepreneurial journey, we are committed to helping them succeed” said Tashline Jooste, CEO of the Innovator Trust.

The business presentations are the final round of evaluation as part of the gruelling 1-year programme which takes young entrepreneurs through a comprehensive set of courses from Coding, Microsoft Skills, Financial Management and Business Model plans to Personal Development and Life Coaching, Business Communication and Conflict Management, just a few of the areas covered for programme beneficiaries.

Marking the end of this year’s YEP calendar is the 2020 Virtual Graduation, set to take place on the 8th  September with DJ Sbu as this year’s guest speaker. Applications for the 2021 intake for the YEP Programme are currently open. Interested young entrepreneurs may register to apply via the Innovator Trust’s website, or make contact via email at

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