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Empowering Dreams: Celebrating the Success of Cohort 2 in the #GirlsInBusiness Programme

On July 17, 2023, our second cohort of the #GirlsInBusiness programme arrived at the Sustainability Institute prepared to compete for a total of R40 000 in investment funding for their social enterprises. Ndlovukazi from the Bright Sparks team, one of the groups set to pitch, expressed her thoughts, saying, "This is a huge opportunity for me, coming from a township, and I wish there could be more moments like these." She also acknowledged some worry about not knowing what the other groups would pitch, but she preferred to focus on what her team was bringing to the table.

While there was a lot of nervousness in the air, there were several moments that were both grounded and joyous.

If you missed Cohort 2's pitching session, we'll gladly catch you up!

The #GirlsInBusiness programme, which was established in 2022 has been dedicated to educating high school girls in marginalized communities about the ideals of social innovation and the opportunities that their commitment to being pioneers and trailblazers would give to their communities. After months of planning, researching, and brainstorming, we officially ended our second cohort of the #GirlsInBusiness programme at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch. The day began with some meditation and breathing techniques to assist the participants in grounding themselves and manage their anxieties. The young women were then read poetry to remind them of their bravery in participating in the programme despite the odds stacked against them.

The four groups were then introduced to a panel of judges who would deliberate on how the investment funds would be distributed to bring their social enterprises to reality. Shannon Smuts, who has pioneered sustainable food solutions through her company, Pure Good Food. Bushra Razack, a community development specialist and the CEO of Philippi Village, a flourishing business hub and community centre in Philippi. Munashe Dzikiti, a passionate social entrepreneur, project manager in the social impact space and the founder of the Women in Tech University of the Western Cape. One of the judges shared with us her thoughts on what she was looking forward to "I'm excited to see how their life experiences thus far will shape the ideas they have for their businesses."

Shortly after that, the following groups presented their social enterprises to the judging panel and audience. In addition, they received feedback from the judging panel on how to assure the success of their respective businesses:

I Survived So Can You-

A support system community for the youth going through mental and other issues to come together and find creative and positive outlets.

Bright Sparks-

A unique App for the visually impaired youth that provides a comprehensive range of services including career guidance, university/college applications, financial aid applications, encouragement quotes, and job applications, all in one convenient platform.

Bright Future Leaders-

A centre for wellness creates a safe and healthier environment in the community to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Game Changers-

Interactive skills explore hub for youth who have dropped out of school and grade 12 graduates who are struggling to find school.

This was followed by an awards ceremony in which each student received a certificate of achievement based on their performance throughout the programme. They were recognized for their leadership, teamwork, positive attitude, and excellence. The joyous atmosphere proceeded as the young women were treated to live music performance by a local talent.

After everything had been said and done, the young women later shared their thoughts on the programme and the funding that they received. "Every business presented today is unique and is indeed strong," Ndlovukazi said. "I would like for us all to spend this money wisely because this is the start of us becoming independent young women." "I really liked the programme, I got the opportunity to network with other participants," said Thulisile from the Bright Future Leaders team. "I enjoyed the awards ceremony because there were vibes and you could relax."

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all our sponsors, partners, mentors and supporters for their respective contributions in making the impact of #GirlsInBusiness program possible.

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