Primestars, a youth development organisation based in Johannesburg, has been tackling South Africa’s high unemployment rate for 17 years by offering free training to high school learners. Their “step up to a green start-up programme” addresses another big issue for South Africa, namely the climate crisis. The programme runs as a competition, which inspires and guides students across the country to find sustainable entrepreneurial opportunities.
The organisation has a unique edutainment model and uses educational films as a way to reach potential entrepreneurs in underprivileged high schools. By arranging screenings at local movie theatres, in schools and through their website, Primestars is able to reach about 12 000 learners countrywide.
“We are trying to reach every South African high school learner who is interested in starting a business in the green economy,” says programme manager Tarryn Reynders.
Through their films, Primestars aims to highlight the climate emergency, as well as make learners aware of the opportunities in the green economy. The films end with a call to action for learners to team up and create an entrepreneurial business idea that can sustainably solve or alleviate a problem in their community.
The finalists of the competition — one team from each province — attend a boot camp, where they meet industry specialists, interact with other entrepreneurs and are upskilled with financial literacy tools. The competition concludes with an awards ceremony where bursaries for further studies are awarded by the sponsors of Primestars, including Bidvest, Sanlam and the department of education.
While this is the first time the programme has highlighted sustainable entrepreneurship specifically, Primestars will continue to focus on this area going forward. “The green economy is such an important part of today, tomorrow and the foreseeable future — we’re looking at running part two next year,” says Reynders.
“We are trying to reach every South African high school learner who is interested in starting a business in the green economy.”