Unlocking young business minds

Vaughn Fouché with Empangeni Preparatory School learners selected to be part of the Ventrepreneur programme Picture: Gugu Myeni

ENTREPRENEUR Vaughn Fouché is hoping to unlock the business minds of learners in local schools through his ‘Ventrepreneur’ programme.

Fouché, who started his party planning business at a very young age and is also the founder of CupBoom Vaughn’s Cupcakery, wants to inspire and teach young learners how to become entrepreneurs.

‘The aim of the Ventrepreneur programme is to visit schools and make learners aware that they can start their own businesses. I was in Grade 6 when I started my first business doing magic shows. I turned about R60 000,’ he said.

Fouché began the Ventrepreneur programme with 20 learners at Empangeni Preparatory on Monday.

Usiphile Nxumalo, Nhlanhla Kunene, Luthando Makhanya, Smanga Sithole, Olwethu Nzuza and Vaughn Fouché
Picture: Gugu Myeni

‘With this programme we provide the kids with R600 worth of start-up material to complete the course. That includes files, memory drives, work books and calculators. We help them realise their potential by helping them put together a business plan and help them understand what goes into starting your own business.

‘They will then submit their business plans next week and we will then dedicate R15 000 as start-up capital after we have selected three of the most viable business plans and turn them into real businesses,’ Fouché said.

One ‘Ventrepreneur’ who has put the programme to good practice is second year University of Zululand student Smanga Sithole, who started his own business on campus washing shoes.

Annalien Fouché speaks to Augustin Amuli about his interests and business idea
Picture: Gugu Myeni

Washing shoes

‘I started the business last year when I saw students on campus walking around with dirty shoes. So I started asking a few people to bring their shoes to me to wash them and I would charge R15 a pair.

‘Then I decided to make it official and I put signs advertising my business. I would wash about 50 pairs a week whenever I had spare time. Vaughn has become my mentor because he has been running his own businesses from a young age and he always advises that you need to start small,’ Sithole said.

Sithole now charges R20 to R25 for washing shoes and has extended it to other campuses.

Taku Chibisa selects an item for his group during the mystery box mix up section and were expected to create a business name, logo and slogan based on the item they selected
Picture: Gugu Myeni

Empangeni Preparatory School Economics Management and Sciences teacher Claire Tedder said this is a unique opportunity for the learners.

‘It is beneficial for them to have someone come in and show them what they can do because they need to understand that there aren’t many job opportunities available. So for them to understand that they can create opportunities for themselves is huge,’ Tedder said.

Fouché is hoping to extend the programme to other schools in the district.

‘This is the age when you change the mindset of young South Africans to become entrepreneurs.

‘But we need the private sector to get on board through funding. We are pleading to local companies to invest in these young minds who are the future contributors to the South African economy,’ he said.

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  AUTHOR
Gugu Myeni

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