Martin Sweet is the managing director of Primestars, a majority black female-owned youth development and education organisation that supports public schools in under-resourced communities. Since 2010, Primestars programmes — including career guidance, financial literacy, leadership and entrepreneurship — have benefited over a million youths across the country.
Entrepreneurship is a major focus, and one of the organisation’s main goals is to help the youth identify opportunities in the green economy by using technology. Step Up 2 A Green Start Up, a national youth entrepreneurship programme, is the initiative that is driving their vision, and it’s one of which Sweet is particularly proud. “Now is the time to rethink how we live, eat, travel, do business, earn our livelihoods and educate our children,” he says. “The changes we make to protect the earth can also protect and strengthen our most vulnerable and neglected communities, creating a safer and more just world for all.”
The programme’s objectives include using technology to enable green businesses; to see environmental challenges as business opportunities; and to prioritise people and the planet over profit alone. “When it comes to South Africa’s youth, entrepreneurship is touted as the key to combating the youth unemployment crisis in the country,” says Sweet.
He adds that he’s found the amazing opportunities for youth development in the green economy unexpected. He wishes South Africans understood climate change better, so they can find solutions to unemployment in the green economy. Thanks to the work he and his team are doing, the future is certainly starting to look greener.
Now is the time to rethink how we live, eat, travel, do business, earn our livelihoods and educate our children