Given the vast unemployment figures among South African youth, there is a critical need to support young people in completing their education and acquiring the skills needed to seek employment, set up a business or access tertiary education. The DEP project engages some of the top girl learners and focuses on building employability and entrepreneurship skills. Youth entrepreneurship development is an important strategy to integrate young people into labour markets and encourages them to start their own income-generation projects.
Why Develop Entrepreneurs?
In 2016, OVSA launched the DEP Project, which develops a group of girl learners to start their own ‘small’ businesses and demonstrate entrepreneurial competencies in their lives. In this way, deserving youth are given the opportunity to develop skills vitally needed for life after school – whether they study further, take a job or become entrepreneurs. Through hard work, initiative and creativity the learners positively impact not only their own lives but act as role models for their peers. Grade 11 girl learners who have completed the Enterprise workshops, are invited to take part in the OVSA Business Plan Competition, out of which the top 16 Business Plans are chosen and mentees offered 10 months Entrepreneurship Field School and Mentorship Training. Learners are supported on developing, refining, managing and evaluating their ‘after school’ businesses, as well as taught skills that will help them to finish school and matric. All Businesses are presented at the end-of-year Award Ceremony, after which the top 8 Business will be chosen. The winning businesses will see their Mentees receive either, short educational courses of their choice, or educational resources in support of their completing school, making sound career choices and attaining financial independence.