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MTN Nurtures SA Youth's Entrepreneurial Aptitude as SAGE Winners Head to World Cup in the USA Three Johannesburg-based teenagers took the top spot as the winning team in this year's MTN-supported Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) national competition.

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The winning teens will be moving on to the SAGE World Cup, which will be held at the California State University, in the United States, in August.

"At MTN, we believe that young people must be encouraged to develop their own entrepreneurial paths that will promote self-reliance, and hopefully assist in developing small businesses that will become job creators," says Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager of MTN SA Foundation.

"It is for this reason that have supported the SAGE Entrepreneurial Programme since 2014, in partnership with SAGE and the University of the Free State. It really is an ideal platform that enables our youth to develop business ideas while learning about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship."

Adding entrepreneurial skills to business ideas

150 teenagers from Grades 9 to 11 and various universities, representing all nine provinces of South Africa, participated in the national competition held in Durban over the past weekend.

They took part in a series of workshops and mentorship sessions designed to add entrepreneurial skills to their business ideas. Various teams of students then pitched their ideas to a panel of judges.

The "Gazer' team from Parktown Boys High School and McCauley Girls High School in Johannesburg took first place. Kamogelo Tshabala, Mkiva Mkiva and Sihle Mandla's "Gazer' is a travel and services app that brings service providers closer to the consumer by creating a database of suppliers from all parts of South Africa.

Aiming for future growth

The runners up were the "Nova' team from Maritzburg Boys College in Pietermaritzburg. Ross Bennett, Odwa Mthethwa and Chase Whiting's business is about designing, manufacturing, selling and using hydroponic technology, with the aim of steering the agricultural industry toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

"Nova' will progress in four phases of growth, the first being the sale of small hydroponic growing modules to regular consumers in order to generate profits to fund phase two. The second phase will be the establishment of a large-scale hydroponic farm.

Abundant entrepreneurial talent

"Our congratulations go out to the winners and all the other students who participated in this year's national challenge. We were very impressed with the calibre and quality of entries, which indicated the abundant entrepreneurial talent that we have in this country. We are also assured that the "Gazer' team will fly our flag high at the upcoming World Cup," says Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.

"Young people between the ages of 15 to 34 make up 20.6 million people, or 35.7% of the total population (according to Statistics South Africa). By nurturing the entrepreneurial aptitude in this population group, through initiatives like this, we believe that we are laying solid foundations for the future. The youth of our country are amongst the most powerful drivers of social change, and we want to support and harness that spirit to help create the business leaders of the future."

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