Mentorship scheme for SA youth


Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma used day one of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa to discuss a mentorship scheme for South Africa’s youth.

The President met with the Founder and Chairperson of the Mara Foundation, Ashish Thakkar, on the side-lines of the meeting underway in Cape Town.

The two discussed the innovative Mara Mentor online Mentoring Platform that will provide mentorships to young South African entrepreneurs.

It was agreed that the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) will partner with the Mara Foundation to run the online mentorship scheme, Mara Mentor.

The mentoring platform is an initiative of Brand SA. They first linked up the foundation with the Presidency at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January this year, through Brand SA Brand Ambassador and former KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize.

The mentorship platform will be officially launched on 16 June 2015 and will mentor the youth over a web platform as well as on mobile applications and will be able to ask leading business leaders questions and seek advice on business issues, the Presidency said.

An exhibition stand will be set up at the June 16 National Youth Day celebrations venue for youth to gain further insight into Mara E-Mentoring and to sign up.

The celebrations will take place at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria.

“Top business leaders in South Africa including Chairpersons and CEOs of companies are already being asked to sign up as mentors for the South African youth to be able to provide them with support. The youth will be able to register as mentees at one of NYDA’s 14 offices countrywide.”

Mara Mentor has been successfully launched in six African countries to date. The e-platform has over 600 000 active entrepreneurs across 30 African countries that young people can interact with.

“The South African youth will benefit from the Mara Foundation’s mentorship platform immensely. Many young people have access to cellphones and other tools and will be able to access the support from business mentors,” said NYDA chairperson Yershen Pillay.

Already an SMS campaign is planned whereby the youth will be invited to register on the E-Mentoring platform.

Youth organisations are also being approached to get their members to sign up as mentees.

Brand SA Chairperson Chichi Maponya said the programme was part of Brand SA’s initiative of not only promoting South Africa as an attractive business destination but also finding opportunities for socio-economic development for the country abroad.

Maponya said they are very excited about this scheme.

“We believe that it has the potential to empower thousands of young people who want to start up businesses or who are already in business. It also provides an opportunity for business leaders in the country to plough back by supporting youth development and empowerment.”