Mastercard committed to developing women entrepreneurship

Mastercard has extended its support of the Junior Achievement South Africa (JA South Africa) Mini Enterprise Programme for the sixth year, with a R1.4 million donation that sees more than 450 learners, predominantly young women, participate in the organisation’s flagship programme.
The Mini Enterprise Programme guides the selected Grade 10 and 11 learners from 13 schools across seven provinces in theory and practical sessions lasting three hours after school, one afternoon a week for 15 weeks. Focusing on business theory, accounting, cash flow and marketing, the programme helps the learners to develop and market their own product to their community, while building their interpersonal skills and confidence.
To date, over 2,500 young South Africans, mostly females, have benefitted from the six-year collaboration between Mastercard and JA South Africa. Each learner has been equipped with the skills that they need upon completing the programme to become entrepreneurs when leaving school through this ongoing collaboration.
“Our programme equips learners with the skills needed to launch their own businesses, so that they can potentially employ others one day. This mindset and knowledge foundation will help break the cycle of unemployment faced by school leavers that threatens the future of South Africa's youth,” says Nelly Mofokeng, Acting Managing Director of JA South Africa.
While South Africa’s unemployment rate decreased slightly to 24.3 percent at the end of 2014, research shows that unemployment among women is continually higher than among men. Over eighty percent of the learners in this year’s programme are young females between the ages of 15 and 17. 
“Across the globe, Mastercard has been working with our partners to empower young women, as disparities and obstacles to equal opportunities still exist in both the developed and emerging markets. Encouraging women to become entrepreneurs and participate in their local communities is not only a social cause, but has tremendous economic benefits,” says Mark Elliott, Division President, Mastercard, South Africa. “Through our partnership with JA South Africa, we are equipping these young women with the skills and practical experience they need to one day open their own business and pursue their dreams.”
Bonolo Modise, aged 20, completed the JASA course in 2013. Since primary school, she has run a small business called Jewellery by Noli, which makes custom jewellery using water pearls and African beads.

Nineteen-year old Faith Modipa, who completed the course in 2013, says JA South Africa has played a valuable role in building her confidence. Modipa, who is currently studying BCom Accounting Sciences at the University of Pretoria, aims to open her own accounting practice in the future. As such, the people skills she learnt from the programme will be invaluable to her in her career.

 “Being an entrepreneur gives women a voice and we need more female entrepreneurs to move the country forward,” says Modise.