The Global Entrepreneurship Congress, hosted by South Africa for the first time, is a gathering of entrepreneurs from countries around the world whose objective includes finding ways to support and help start-up companies to find new ventures.
In her welcoming address to the Minister of Small Business Development (DSBD) and the delegates and pitchers, Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom Group reinstated Vodacom's commitment to the empowerment of small businesses and people marginalised from participating in the mainstream economy.
Netshitenzhe confirmed Vodacom's commitment to the empowerment of small businesses through a number initiatives, programmes, and undertakings such as its supply chain management system whose policies have been aligned to the empowerment policies of government.
Through the Vodacom Foundation which has invested over a billion rands in social upliftment in the past 18 years, Netshitenzhe said Vodacom has Youth Academies that provide Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills to youth in order to provide them with the basic competencies and skills to be eligible to participate in the digital economy.
'Besides our core business, we are also committed to doing what we can to stimulate skills development and job creation within the ICT sector. Through the ICT skills training, we are now able to fulfill this commitment and also play an active role in the creation of job opportunities for young people.' - Takalani Netshitenzhe
To date, a total of 153 students across the country have been trained and following the training, the youth will be able to support the network of schools connected via the Vodacom Mobile Education programme as well as engage in reselling of Vodacom products and the developing of mobile applications or mobile apps.
In response to Vodacom's welcome address, the Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu who was the guest speaker, commended Vodacom for its empowerment initiatives and emphasised the need to empower communities in which Vodacom puts its base stations infrastructure, and to consider introducing basic Intellectual Property (IP) modules in the curriculum of the Youth Academies in order to preserve the intellectual property emanating from the innovation of the young men and women.
Vodacom emphasises that the empowerment initiatives shared with delegates at the opening of this conference are work in progress driven by a firm commitment that more still needs to be done. Further engagements continue between Vodacom and the Small Business Development Ministry in order to further deepen the partnership to empower small businesses.