Youth Career Entrepreneurship Conference

“Inspiring an entrepreneurial outlook among South African youth”

The Challenge:


According to Statistics South Africa (2018), the South African youth are still vulnerable in the labor

market. Youth unemployment in South Africa is currently estimated at 63,5% of the total number of

unemployed people. Young graduates are currently struggling to find employment.


There is an urgent need to start considering other forms of job creation.  Throughout the world, one finds that SMMEs are playing a critical role in absorbing labour, penetrating new markets and generally expanding economies in creative and innovative ways. Entrepreneurs play a vital role in job creation and providing opportunities to young people. Entrepreneurship holds the promise of growth, expansion and long-term financial gain.


Entrepreneurship education is not always promoted in secondary schools in South Africa, many young people are not exposed to entrepreneurship as a viable career option. Young people sometimes lack the impetus to initiate small businesses or community projects because of lack of the required entrepreneurial skills, access to finance, access to training and mentorship, access to start-up capital and access to markets. Therefore, they end up not pursuing entrepreneurship.


The challenge is that most of these young people enter higher education institutions with the mindset of searching for a good job after graduation or those who fail lose direction by sometimes choosing to employ them without proper entrepreneurship knowledge and therefore end up with a failing business. Lack of entrepreneurship education, strong networks and exposure to entrepreneurship at an early age and lack of support discourage many youths from pursuing entrepreneurial initiatives. 



The Pillar 5 Group’s Response & Goal:


The idea for the conference was conceptualized from years of working and interacting with young people. We meet passionate, creative, driven and innovative young people on a daily basis that are keen to start enterprises. They however do not have access to knowledge and information on how to start and operate a business enterprise. The company is also exposed to youth that is vulnerable and do not know what options are available to them besides employment.


The mission of Pillar 5 is to inspire an entrepreneurial outlook among South African youth by challenging them to tackle social issues in their communities with an entrepreneurial mindset in order to create sustainable solutions that will benefit the whole community while simultaneously training other inspired youth to follow the entrepreneurship path.


We realise the need to promote entrepreneurship as a viable career option. Entrepreneurship must not be viewed from the lens of necessity entrepreneurship, where someone becomes an entrepreneur because they don’t have a job and as soon as there is a job they abandon the enterprise and go into employment. We should rather promote the importance of opportunity entrepreneurship. This entails teaching young people about identifying and screening viable business opportunities. 


In order to successfully impart entrepreneurship as an attitude to work and the working life following completion of education, well-considered skills and awareness inputs must be provided to students at all levels of the education system, targeted to each respective age group and the level of interaction of that age group with the labor market. Therefore, we are hosting this conference to shift the mindset of young people and to impart the spirit of entrepreneurship in them.


The purpose of the Youth Career Entrepreneurship Conference is to help expose children from previously

disadvantaged communities, students who are busy doing grade 10/11/12 to make informed career

choices, pupils that have passed Matric and are unemployed/adults who have acquired work skills and

experience but are unemployed/ business minded youth who would like to venture into business but lack

knowledge and decent business advise that will help make their dreams come true. 


The conference will host 8000 students 18 August 2018 at the Bellville Velodrome.In accordance with the conference theme “Take Off”, students will be taken on a journey emulating a flight. The conference represents the airplane transporting these students to the next destination in their careers, with the entrepreneurs who mentor them representing the pilot. In order to check in to the flight, students will need their entrepreneurial video demonstrating their entrepreneurial aptitude. This video is a product of the idea clinics hosted at various schools during the months leading up to the conference. During the flight they will be exposed to many successful business people who will mentor them to succeed in their business venture.


The Process:


May – July 2018: Conference Enlistment

August 2018: “Take Off” International Entrepreneurship Conference

September 2018: Registration and Orientation 1st Tier

October 2018: Mentorship and Incubator Programme start

February 2019 – March 2019: Monitor and Evaluation

October 2019: Progamme Closed 1st Tier