While the holidays are a time for most of us to relax, there are thousands of young people across South Africa hoping to enjoy a break of a different sort: the chance to start a career. From December 20 to January 14, a unique five-ton truck – outfitted with 10 free Internet stations and a walk-in meeting area – travelled to five South African coastal cities to meet matriculants and univeristy students to talk to them (and their parents) about the idea of being an entrepreneur or an ‘intrapreneur’. The tour comes to a close this week in Cape Town, so if you are a resident of the mother city, look out for the MEDO truck.
“We’re looking for those interested in creating (rather than just finding) a job,” says Judi Sandrock, CEO of the Micro Enterprise Development Organisation (MEDO), the organiser of the tour. “We want to hear from those who have business ideas or existing businesses, to see where help can be provided.”
Fishing for entrepreneurs and ‘intrapreneurs’
A team specialising in entrepreneur development, including two entrepreneurship students from Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge in the UK, welcome anyone to the mobile entrepreneurship centre interested in creating employment opportunities for themselves. ‘Intrapreneurs’, or individuals with ideas about products or services they would like to introduce into organisations, are also encouraged to meet the MEDO-UKTI team. Short business management workshops will be conducted throughout the day and young people interested in taking their business ideas to the next level are encouraged to apply for the MEDO-UKTI entrepreneurship development programme in 2012. The programme offers a mix of practical business skills workshops and support services, as well as networking events and introductions to markets in South Africa and overseas.
Cleopatra Simelane, a MEDO entrepreneur who founded, edits and publishes Recess magazine, an edutainment publication for high school students, is one of the tour leaders. She is also a brand ambassador for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in South Africa.
According to her: “I want to offer my experiences and insights into running a business to other young people thinking of creating employment for themselves. While being your own boss is a constant challenge, I find it extremely rewarding; something I wish to share with more South Africans.”
Several organisations – all of which have been started by great entrepreneurs – have pledged their support for the initiative, including:
- Jaguar Land Rover South Africa
- Estée Lauder (Bobbi Brown Cosmetics)
- Microsoft South Africa
As part of the road trip, Microsoft is giving out a free book: The BOSS: Book Of Small Business Solutions and visitors to the mobile entrepreneurship centre can also win a Bobbi Brown encyclopaedia of Cosmetics and Beauty.
To find out more about the MEDO-UKTI summer tour, including the exact location of the MEDO-UKTI mobile entrepreneurship centre, visit http://www.mymedo.co.za/medotour/ , call +27 (0)10 500 5000; ‘like’ @MEDOcentre on Facebook and or follow @MEDONews on Twitter (#MEDOtour).