BCM ‘partners’ in teen entrepreneur project

Ebenezer Majombozi High pupils have started a landscaping business called Eco-Roots. They are seen here withTeacher Sindi Matikinca, left, is excited at the news that the school was selected to benefit from the BCM partnership with the Teen Entrepreneur Foundation.
GROWING BUSINESS: Ebenezer Majombozi High pupils have started a landscaping business called Eco-Roots. They are seen here withTeacher Sindi Matikinca, left, is excited at the news that the school was selected to benefit from the BCM partnership with the Teen Entrepreneur Foundation.
Image: SUPPLIED

In a first-of-its-kind project in the metro, scores of pupils with the potential to become entrepreneurs should soon benefit from a cash injection of more than R500,000 from the Buffalo City Metro.

The money will be used to train teenagers so they can establish and run their own businesses successfully.

During a recent meeting, the city council approved a three-year partnership with Cape Town-based organisation Teen Entrepreneur Foundation.

The deal comes at a cost of R216,000 a year to run the entrepreneurship programme in schools around BCM.

The move was not welcomed by some opposition parties.

However, teachers from some of the selected schools expressed excitement at the news of being selected.

Ebenezer Majombozi High School teacher Sindi Matikinca said: “We have already identified pupils who will benefit from the programme.

“They have developed business concepts for landscaping, catering, shoe polishing and recycling. We are very excited.”

The first lucky beneficiaries of the programme, which will officially start in 2020, are listed as SEK Mqhayi High School, Ebenezer Majombozi High, Bhisho High and ZK Mathews, Hector Peterson and Qhasana Senior Secondary Schools.

The schools are in Mdantsane, Zwelitsha, Bhisho, Potsdam, Duncan Village and King William’s Town.

Asked how the schools were selected, BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said: “There was a random selection of the six schools and we considered midlands, inlands and coastal since this is just a pilot programme at the moment.

“The project will have to start at the beginning of the year due to the exams that are around the corner, but preparations for the programme will be done this year.”

The money will be used to run the programme, which will include training and workshops for the pupils and team champions, said BCM’s acting general manager of trade, industry and sector development Xolelwa Majiza.

When the Dispatch contacted the founder of Teen Entrepreneur Foundation, Lydia Zingoni, she said: “At this stage, until we get the official confirmation signed [in the] partnership document, we are not obliged to speak about the exact details of our involvement in the Eastern Cape.

“Our approach has always been to make sure we train the champion teachers to own the programme and in turn these will train other teachers until all schools in the Eastern Cape have an Entrepreneurs Society.

“The approach is working in the Western Cape and we are being approached to create similar pilot programmes in other provinces.”

But the ANC, DA and AIC clashed over the approval of the funding, after city manager Andile Sihlahla could not say whether the partnership fell under procurement or not.

DA councillor Geoff Walton said: “The DA does not oppose such initiatives in principle on condition it is within the law.

“We have a concern this may be a procurement issue and this council cannot be involved in procurement of a service provider.”

AIC councillor Vusumzi Tutu said: “This is a good initiative but do we have documents that tell us it is registered.

“For us to get into a partnership with something when there are no documents on the table, I do have a problem.”

However, ANC councillors said it was a partnership and was not a procurement.

Deputy mayor Zoliswa Matana said: “We all approve this initiative, but there are clarity-seeking questions.

“My view is the questions do not say we should not approve this beautiful initiative that seeks to assist those previously disadvantaged schools. “I therefore support the call that we should consider the proposal to partner ... Let us proceed with the partnership agreement.”

mamelan@dispatch.co.za

X