The entrepreneurship portfolio seeks to establish an enabling environment that will allow entrepreneurs and SMMEs to thrive and help in the alleviation of poverty. This portfolio has a strong focus establishing self-reliance among community members as it includes training, mentorship and support in the initial stages of business start-up. The entrepreneurship portfolio is a prime example of how the Foundation’s interlinked and synergistic approach works. Local talent is used to develop the infrastructure necessary to roll out the Foundations interventions. The small business owners, in turn, benefit from training, mentoring, support and skills transfer.
Unemployment is a big problem in South Africa. People need to be self-reliant and learn to be entrepreneurial. It is especially important to teach our children to be entrepreneurial – too many new businesses are failing because people do not have the necessary skills and support needed to run a successful business.
One of the programmes focuses on creating an entrepreneurial culture in children from Grades 4 to 11. The programme is linked to the school curriculum.
Since its inception in 2009 to date, 54 000 primaries and high school learners and more than 180 teachers have been trained and exposed to the Entrepreneurship Education programme.
- Teacher support: Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) and Business Studies are part of the mainstream curriculum in South African schools, so MTN supports educators by providing training and entrepreneurial learning materials to teachers.
- Market Days Competition: The Market Days competition provides learners with an opportunity to exhibit their products or services and use the skills they have been taught to sell their goods. The competition takes place at a school, regional and national level.
Learner Clubs: The clubs offer students an extra-mural activity where they can get together with other learners to practice and implement what they have learnt in school.
The other section of the portfolio focuses on developing and supporting SMMEs, NGOs, co-operatives and rural projects. The portfolio focus on establishing self-reliance among community members as it includes training, mentorship and support in the initial stages of business start-up, and is made up of:
- Business Support Centres: To be entrepreneurial you need business skills and support amongst other things. In partnership with local municipalities and provincial development agencies. MTN Foundation has established business support centres in rural communities which target start-ups and people who are still starting their own business. The BSC personnel identify the developmental needs of the entrepreneurs and then provide the necessary training and support so that they can manage and grow sustainable businesses.
- Small Business Fairs: These fairs have two aspects to them – exhibitions and business workshops. The workshops are run together with the other development partners and local municipalities. They assist entrepreneurs with the information and advice they required to run their business, while the exhibitions give entrepreneurs an opportunity to sell and market their products. Before the exhibitions MTN assists the entrepreneurs with pre exhibition workshops, creating business cards, order forms and other tools they may require to assist them sell and market their products.
Financial Support: Those community projects that meet MTN’s strategic objectives, including plans on how there are going to sustain their businesses, can apply for finance.
- Youth ICT Support Projects: MTN Foundation has established multi-media centres in schools. The schools needed aftercare, training and support to make sure that they are kept functioning properly. To make this happen, youth owned ICT businesses were given the platform to provide end user computer training to teachers, technical support and to manage the infrastructure in the ICT centres.