Junior Achievement Eswatini Launches Alumni Start-up Awards

By Phiwa Sikhondze 

In a landmark initiative to honor entrepreneurial spirit, Junior Achievement (JA) Eswatini has announced the launch of the JA Alumni Startup Awards. 

The awards aim to celebrate the achievements of young entrepreneurs who have successfully established and grown their businesses after participating in JA’s educational programs.

The launch of the JA Alumni Startup Awards marks the beginning of the application period, providing a platform for alumni to showcase their achievements and contributions to Eswatini’s economy. This initiative not only acknowledges individual success but also underscores the broader potential and innovation within the JA alumni community.

Phetsile Masilela, Director of JA Eswatini, outlined the criteria for the awards, emphasizing that nominees must be alumni of JA’s in-school or out-of-school entrepreneurship programs and should have registered on the JA gather platform, which is an international JA platform where Alumni can register. 

The JA Director appealed to sponsors, partners, and stakeholders to closely observe the development of young individuals who have previously participated in collaborative projects, highlighting the importance of their continued support and mentorship in these young entrepreneurs’ journeys.

“As a JA sponsor, partner, and stakeholder we would like you to keep an eye on a young person that you will remember has been part of the project of a project that we have done with you,” she said.

Nkosinathi Dlamini, Vice President of the JA Alumni Executive Committee Eswatini, shared his personal success story as a JA alumnus. He shared that his participation in JA’s comprehensive programs, ranging from financial literacy to entrepreneurship, has been transformative, culminating in the establishment of his own business. 

He reflected on the significant influence JA has had on his life. He noted that the programs provided him not only with the necessary skills and knowledge for the business world but also instilled the confidence to embark on his entrepreneurial path. 

“This is a testament to the power and potential that lies within every of the fellow JA alumni. The JA Alumni are here to celebrate that potential. These alumni have leaped to transform the lives and skills of every innovative business that has been started by JA. This is a chance to be recognized for your hard work, innovation, and contribution to the Eswatini economy,” Dlamini said.

Masilela highlighted that applicants should be actively running a for-profit business with demonstrable profitability and consistent growth over the years. Self-nominations and nominations from mentors, peers, or the community are also welcome. The nomination period commences from March 25 to April 10, 2024. The awards ceremony will take place on May 17, 2024.

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