Young girls at a previous entrepreneurship course. Photo by Thabo Monama  ~ 

ARE you a young woman with a great business idea who dreams of becoming an entrepreneur?

Mastercard invites out of school, unemployed or self-employed young women between 18 and 35 years to participate in the Junior Achievement South Africa (JA South Africa) Youth Enterprise Development Programme.

Kicking off at community centres in Gauteng, Western Cape and Limpopo on 6 February, 260 applicants will be selected to take part in a 20-week programme.

There will be three hour theoretical and practical sessions two afternoons a week, and budding entrepreneurs will focus on business theory, market research, financial and business management, sales and marketing, as well as the basic steps of computer literacy.

Nelly Mofokeng, managing director at JA South Africa, says the programme encourages and guides young women to become economically active to contribute towards self-sufficient communities.

The Youth Enterprise Development Programme was launched in 2013. Nearly 1 700 people have completed the programme with many now living their dream.

Applications must be in by 31 January 2017. Get the forms at the following areas:

Gauteng: Siyafunda Community Technology centre, Tshepo Themba Development centre, Diepsloot Skills centre and Olievenhoutbosch Development centre.

Western Cape: The Communiversity in Vrygrond.

Limpopo: Vexospark Community Technology centre in Polokwane.

Get more information at: or send an email to

Changing lives ONE CLICK AT A TIME

William Makgaba is using technology to give children, youth, women and people living with disabilities hope for a better future

William Makgaba’s project, Vexospark Community Technology Centre, is empowering children, youth, women and people living with disabilities with Information and Communication Technology

WHEN William Makgaba (32) started a project in his community teaching people basic computer skills, little did he know that many people from rural communities would be empowered to learn more about Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Born and bred in Ga-Dikgale, outside Polokwane, Limpopo, William worked as a gardener after completing matric due to a lack of resources.


Like any other child, William had big dreams of becoming a doctor while growing up, but things did not go according to plan after he matriculated in 2003 from Morutwa Secondary School.

“I’m the fourth of six children and we were all raised by a single mother, who had to leave us with our grandmother to work as a domestic worker. Life was not rosy at all, especially as our mother was not around to ensure we had everything we needed for school,” says William.

He says with the little that his mother made, he registered for Computer Science through Unisa, but unfortunately had to drop out when she passed away.

“I didn’t give up though, the person who had employed me as a gardener gave me a computer as she could see I was keen to learn and share my knowledge with others,” he says.


William registered his project, Vexospark Community Technology Centre in 2012 with the aim to alleviate poverty in rural communities.

Today communities from villages such as Ga-Mamabolo, Ga-Sekgopo, Tikilaene, Sekeming and Ga-Matlala in Limpopo are benefiting from this project.

He says Vexospark aims to alleviate poverty in rural communities as he believes education is the only tool that can save many people, especially from rural areas.

“We believe that education is the best way out of poverty, that is why we are using ICT in rural communities to reach equal and quality

education. We are moving from one village to another, trying to give children, youth, women and people living with disabilities hope for a better future,” says William.


William says while he was doing his first year, people laughed at him as he could not open Microsoft Word to type an assignment.

“This is when I realised that improving access to information technology for people in ruarl areas will have economic and social benefits for them,” explains William.

He says he found the need to develop the social capabilities that could bring the power of information technology to marginalised communities. To date, his project has created permanent employment for seven people, while 15 are volunteers.

“My vision is to create a nation in which society can actively participate in decisions affecting their lives and can equally have access to information and opportunities. With the support from Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), we are now going to build a digital college, where people from marginalised communities will have access to information and opportunities,” he says.


William says they have not encountered any challenges as many of their programmes are for free.

“This should encourage people to come in numbers and use this opportunity to empower themselves,” he says. He says even though people sometimes think that anything that is offered for free does not have value, he would like to correct this as many people have benefited from his project.

“There will always be people who would like to see others fail, but I don’t dwell on that as my aim is to see our people having the knowledge that they need in order to better their lives,” he says.

“We are busy helping learners from pre-school to foundation phase with numeracy and literature using edu-station programmes. We are also helping Grade 10 to 12 learners with extra lessons in mathematics, mathematics literacy, physical science, economics and life science using ICT.”


He says they also offer programmes such as She will Connect Project, which aims to reduce the internet gender gap by helping to put the internet in the grasp of women in Africa.

Women and girls will benefit from the information, knowledge and connections available on the web and so far about 17 233 women have benefited from this.

“We also offer entrepreneurial business skills where we teach women business theory, market research, financial and business management, sales and marketing, computer literacy, business funding as well as management and other practical skills,” says William.

“Other programmes include 3D virtual learning, which aids learners living with disabilities to have access to computer literacy and Unisa Telecentre, which helps registered Unisa students access the internet, do assignments and change their modules.”

Women from Intel (USA & France) visit in Polokwane

In November 2014, 5 women from Intel conducted “Intel She Will Connect” focus group with women from Polokwane area in Limpopo University. Intel She Will Connect learning platform is currently being developed and is targeting online digital literacy for young women (15-25 years old) in SubSaharan Africa regions

Many articles, blogs of their action in South Africa at this time are available on the following links:

We will continue to follow up on Intel She Will Connect program to enable women from our communities with this online learning platform.

Emerging Social Enterprise Awards

28-year old William Makgaba’s initiative, the Vexospark Community Technology Centre, was recently chosen as the Emerging Youth Social Enterprise of the Year at the Emerging Social Enterprise Awards organised by the University of Johannesburg’s Centre of Social Entrepreneurship and Social Economy (CSESE) and sponsored by PriceWaterCoopers (PWC) and Lifeco. The aim of the competition is to celebrate the emerging social enterprises showing potential of scaling up and making a huge impact.

See more at:

And also great article on Young African Entrepreneurs:


Helping marginalized communities – women dance

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