If there were ever a moral to the story of the ongoing reality that we are currently facing called the COVID-19 pandemic, the moral would be that it takes more than having knowledge to stay above water. The essential requirement is having a skillset.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Program mirrors all the characteristics of emphasizing the importance of having a skillset and involving the youth to acquire it. In this article, we will examine how ORT SA went about doing this.

The World ORT Taub Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) promotes business entrepreneurship, motivates students and encourages collaboration. The program curriculum is a blend of theoretical and practical activities, aimed at developing students’ knowledge, skills and understanding, encouraging creative thinking and practical creativity: the brief is for small teams of students to design a product which solves a social problem.

ORT SA, in partnership with STET, has started a Coding and Robotic extra-curricular programme in 2017 at Curtis Nkondo School of Specialisation. The program aims to build the capacity of teachers to enable them to empower learners with technological and entrepreneurial skills such as Business Research, Marketing, Product Designing, Microbits Coding, Application Development & Website Development, to name a few.

A selected group of teachers and learners were chosen to partake in the World ORT YEP competition. The 2021 Youth Entrepreneurship Program comprises four teachers and one team (one boy and eleven girls) called Team CNSOS. One of the projects for the beneficiaries this year is conducting a Business Research on Toyota. Soon they will be working on their own product idea and business.

On the 12th of May 2021, The ORT SA Marketing Team embarked on a journey to meet the students, also known as Team CNSOS, to hear how they feel to be a part of the program.

A beneficiary, Andile Khumalo, had this to say, “Something interesting about the YEP Project is that it teaches many things simultaneously. It teaches coding skills, leadership skills, marketing skills, and business skills. The most important thing I have learned is business skills. It has taught us to be employers more than being employees.

Paballo Mokhojoe, also a beneficiary, said, “ORT SA is amazing, and they are equipping us for the fourth industrial revolution, which we are very grateful for.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future,” and The Youth Entrepreneurship Program epitomizes such a statement as it empowers the youth despite the current grim circumstances we now call the new normal.