Business leaders to mentor aspiring entrepreneurs

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

A new Umsobomvu Youth Fund mentorship programme will pair up 120 young entrepreneurs with leading business people.

But, the pilot entrepreneurship and mentorship programme, which launches with a conference this weekend in Johannesburg, still needs 70 more business people who will mould the youngsters into future leaders.

Umsobomvu aims to facilitate contact between the two parties to assist the entrepreneurs in running and growing their businesses.

Some of the industry leaders who have already signed up as mentors include deputy chair of the South African Institute of International Affairs Moeletsi Mbeki; Regenesys chief executive Marko Saravanja; Allan Knott-Craig, junior chief executive of I-burst; Office of the President youth affairs director Bernice Hlagala and Greg Maloka, chief executive of Kaya FM.

The mentorship was not aimed at financial assistance but insight into the daily hurdles of running a business, said Umsobomvu market linkages manager Laurence Ntlokoa.

"Our target is to achieve 120 mentors for the youths involved in various businesses."

Saravanja said being part of the initiative fulfilled his life-long belief in altruism, which had formed part of the success of his management training company.

"Entrepreneurs are essentially people that are brave enough not to take the usual path, and also appreciate that the choice also means a lot of sacrifice that requires them to search within themselves for the will to continue," said Saravanja.