Raising young entrepreneurs for a changing climate
Almost half a century after the uprising of June 16, 1976, South African youth find themselves in a new fight against two existential threats: the unemployment crisis and the climate emergency. This begs the question: is there still any hope for full economic participation, as Nelson Mandela said? The short answer is yes, and Primestars has established a development model – launched in August, with more than 10,000 young people participating – to keep hope alive.
Stats SA recently released unemployment data reporting the unemployment rate at 32.6% and the youth unemployment rate expanding at an alarming 74.7%.
As if South Africa’s challenges were not enough, the climate crisis is most threatening for young people and humanity as a whole. But the same climate emergency has the potential to create employment opportunities in the green economy to tackle the youth unemployment crisis.
According to the Afrobarometer, more than half of South Africans said they had never heard of climate change. Knowledge is the vaccine against what afflicts us today.
Primestars is a majority black women-owned youth development organization, with over 15 years of experience, benefiting the most vulnerable communities across the country. As part of their contribution to the fight against the national youth unemployment crisis, Primestars in collaboration with Sanlam, Omnia, Sasria, Safripol, Clicks, EOH, SEDA, PAMSA, SAPPI, Mpact, Mulilo, Gauteng Film Commission, MMI, Zutari, Buhle Waste and RPC Astrapak (among others), researched and created a unique entrepreneurial development program for young people in South Africa.
By adapting the lean start-up methodology, nurturing platform businesses and focusing on sharing and circular economies, the creators movement and the Internet of Things, participating learners can find innovative local solutions to society’s most pressing social and environmental issues.
The program – titled Step Up 2 A Green Start Up – will inspire young South Africans to accept environmental responsibility and choose a regenerative and distributive future by:
- Help young people move from a fixed mindset (job seeker) to a growth mindset (job creator);
- Consider environmental challenges as new business opportunities;
- Shift from the manufacture of disposable products to the production of reusable goods;
- Use technology to enable their green businesses;
- Encourage critical and creative thinking, communication, and imaginative problem-solving skills;
- Develop resilience in the face of difficulties. To fail, learn and try again;
- Co-create in collaboration within teams;
- Prioritize people and the planet rather than profit;
- Promote awareness of the biosphere;
- And do more and better with less while delivering value to customers and their communities.
Our unique and exciting multimedia platform combines education and entertainment in the following key elements of our curriculum:
- The production and national screening of an educational film (in cinemas, schools and digitally) in which young entrepreneurs start a business that tackles social and environmental issues;
- A toolkit for ecopreneurs which is given to all participating learners;
- A national green challenge competition and awards ceremony.
As the young climate activist Greta Thurnberg put it so well, “our house is on fire”. Let’s put out the flames and build something different in its place. There are two fires: One fire is climate change, burning the world as we know it. The second is the fire in the belly of the new generation of young activists. Their voices give us energy. Their vision points to our best future. Together we must fuel this fire and help it grow. We invite you to join us in igniting young entrepreneurs for a changing climate by supporting Step Up 2 A Green Start Up.
For more information, click www.primestars.co.za