Junior Achievement (JA) South Africa held its South African Company of the Year competition on 5th October 2023 in Johannesburg. After nine months of training and coaching by JA South Africa facilitators and other consultants on entrepreneurship – from ideation phase all the way to sales and distribution – high school learners (16-18 years old) represented their provinces for the top spot in the Company of the Year (COY) Competition themed Breaking Barriers.
Breaking Barriers signifies a focus on overcoming challenges, pushing boundaries, and defying limitations in the pursuit of excellence. The competition brought together 15 young learners from across the country to showcase their businesses and demonstrate their teamwork, innovation, problem-solving, and leadership skills.
The Unwind team are from Fairmount Secondary School in Grassy Park, Cape Town. The school punches way above its weight despite limited resources. They represented the Western Cape at the competition with an innovative cable protector.
The Unwind team will travel to Rwanda to represent South Africa. Even more exciting was that they received an immediate cash injection of R45,000 from an ex-Fairmount student who was in the audience. In addition, one of the judges committed to work with the team to get their product into Massmart.
This KwaZulu Natal team was a combination of two schools: Nqabakazulu High School in KwaMashu and Al Falaah College in Springfield. Their unique take on the Rocket Stove was initially designed to help families with cooking during loadshedding. But, it also makes the perfect camping companion. EcoSpark are in discussion with Cape Union Mart to stock the product and expand their market.
Tshireleco High School in Kimberley, Northern Cape, took third place with a water filtration device. The team, represented by a single learner who bravely showed off their potentially lifesaving product, impressed the judges with its potential use on a global scale. Their objective is to provide a cost effective way to reduce the health issues associated with drinking contaminated water. The judges suggested reimagining their packaging in the future as they grow.