Awards: What awards or honors has your solution received, if any?
Spark* International recognition and support as a South Africa Changemaker social entrepreneurship project contributing to eradicating poverty for 1million globally.
Tell us about your partnerships
Samsung South Africa is our corporate social responsibility sponsor for equipment for our digital and IT skills training having generously provided us with 40 tables as part of their Smart Schools Initiative. As a well recognised and successful technology brand in our country and globally, we took the opportunity to take advantage of their technology solutions that they have made available. We also saw an opportunity to contribute to Samsung achieving it's target of impacting 5 million young Africans by the end of 2017. We also use the partnership as a way for us to give our students access to technology which they would otherwise not be exposed to.
We are working with experienced enterprise development consultants to develop a relevant and focus entrepreneurship education curriculum. As independent consultants, they have extensive experience and expertise in enterprise development and entrepreneurship training. We are partnering with these leading enterprise development consultants who have worked with top corporates such as SAB, Accenture and ABSA, to ensure our students receive expert and corporate approved entrepreneurship training that will help them consider entrepreneurship as a career option.
Spark* International - provides us with branding, strategy, legal, evaluation and some financial support for implementing our programme. We are part of their network of Changemakers in South Africa and have benefitted from their support for the conceptualisation and launch of our organisation.
Harambee is a free service that helps young South Africans overcome many of the difficulties they face in finding and keeping their first job. We are in initial talks with them to become a feeder organisation for their candidates base within our region. If this partnership goes through it will be critical in enabling us to deliver real value to our students by connecting them to a network within which they can find safe and secure employment without having advanced education degrees.
Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
A lack of tangible opportunities that we can provide to our students upon completion of the programme. We recognise and have promised our students support to find real jobs, register for higher education or start their own businesses. But since we cannot ourselves offer the funding for this, we rely on partnerships and information in our own networks to create these opportunities. This is a significant challenge we are trying to overcome by establishing links with other organisations who offer these opportunities and by also collecting as much information for student bursaries, business funding competitions and vacancies which we then pass onto our students.
Lack of funding, office and training space and transportation impacts where we conduct our training. Currently we are hosted by a school in our district, however we share this with other community organisations and so do not have rights to use the space in ways that are more beneficial for us. Furthermore, the space is quite small and the demand for our services is so vast and at multiple locations, hence we are limited because many students cannot afford to travel to classes, and because we are self funding, we are not able to finance the travelling for our tutors.
Funding impacts our ability to incentivise our training facilitators who are recent graduates that to give them experience. The positions are voluntary, but many tutors need the money for travel and also for their own livelihood as they do not work. We want to be able to offer a stipend that will help them with travelling costs.
A lack of funding means that we also have to hold fulltime jobs in order to use our salaries to fund the operations of the organisation which include communication costs, travel, training, student support and salaries. Currently we are requestion donations from our networks, and also sourcing corporate social investment funds from corporates funding projects in the education space.
How does your idea help young people create bright futures and improve opportunities for meaningful and long-term careers?
The Open Futures Foundation programme is responding to the call made in the National Development Plan for all South Africans to contribute to “promoting greater educational and economic opportunities for young
people” (NDP). We do this by creating new realities specifically for township and rural based young people to receive access to the better educational and skills opportunities and support that they who would otherwise not be exposed to.
Our programme provides academic tutoring, digital and computer skills and entrepreneurship training, and uses community service as a way of gaining practical experience and implementing what is learnt in the classroom. We use unemployed graduates as our tutors in an effort to give them work experience but also use the skills they have gained while studying.
Our programme is designed to dramatically increase the number of educated, employable and entrepreneurial young people in the country. We also bring youth closer to corporate partners who collaborate with us as implementing partners for your organisation’s skills development initiatives. These partnerships play an important role in enabling school leavers and youth to gain the training they need to find their first jobs, to overcome previous setbacks in their own education and to spot business opportunities.
We are also exploring developing a mobile app that that will compile relevant academic, bursary and scholarship and entrepreneurship start up information that our students can take advantage of. Our students are from rural and township communities and have little access to the internet, with this app, we will be able to give them access to the information they otherwise would not have.
Intervention Focus: Identify which of the following best explain key parts of your solution
Job Creation, Job Search, Education - Curricular, Apprenticeship, Entrepreneurship, Training/Skill Development, Community, Mentorship, Rural Economies, Other.
Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.
Strengthen Job-Matching Services: help those who prepare, match, and link job seekers with opportunities to grow
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.
Job creation lacks adequate coordination between the government, private sector and development organizations