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Empowering Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs: TCB Youth Development Programme

By Soapbox Communications

The Lokshin Economiz initiative has been transforming the lives – and futures – of Grade 10 learners from four Atlantis schools with dedicated Entrepreneur and Business Development experience from industry experts. This eight-month programme has opened doors to the world of business and empowered these young people to take charge of their futures.


This practical and engaging youth entrepreneurship programme was developed by Taking Care of Business (TCB) and delivered in collaboration with iKamva Youth and volunteer staff from Direct Axis, a business unit of FirstRand Bank Limited, thanks to the financial support of FirstRand Foundation.


Partnerships that ignite change


“Lokshin Economiz is a testament to the power of collaboration,” says Nicky Edwards, TCB Reskill Programme Lead. “Dedicated FirstRand Bank staff who are passionate about people development volunteered to be mentors. They invested their time, guiding and inspiring the Grade 10 learners. iKamva Youth also provided comprehensive on-site mentoring and ongoing support for the participants. Everyone played to their unique strengths to make this a safe and engaging experience for the learners,” she says.


Seeding Success: From business theory to practice


The essence of this unique programme is in its practical approach to entrepreneurship. Armed with a bit of seed money, learners were challenged to earn their seed money to help them start up their own businesses.

TCB donated clothing, jewellery and accessories to each group (from their Resell programme) and learners sold these products in their communities. The money they raised served as seed money for their budding businesses, enabling them to invest in stock and truly experience the entrepreneurial journey.


Holistic learning for holistic growth


The programme was designed to provide a holistic learning experience. It covered life planning, business skills, self-identity, business ethics, personal effectiveness, personal branding, presentation skills and money management. Equipping learners with a diverse set of skills to help them succeed in the business world.


“I am delighted with the transformation of the learners,” says Edwards. “During this programme, I saw these learners blossom. They went from timid or disinterested to engaged, confident and open to learning.


Year after Year: Sustainable, impactful growth


Now in its second year, Lokshin Economiz has proven to be a life-changing initiative. Learners have experienced some tough but practical business lessons while running their small businesses, including why it is important never to sell on credit, finding the perfect selling price, good communications skills and making sure you have a quality product.


Many learners from the 2022 programme are still running their businesses and making money. Celeste Erasmus, one of the programme trainers says, “This speaks to the valuable skills they learnt. Learners are realising that they don’t have to wait around for a job to come along or rely on handouts. When you are self-employed you can care for yourself. The power is in their hands to run a successful business and to provide for themselves.”


Celebrating Success: The Money Chasers and The Multi-Taskers


As a testament to their newfound entrepreneurial spirit, two teams stood out. The Money Chasers made an impressive profit of R1655 selling popcorn, scrunchies, water bottles, mugs and biltong. However, taking the top spot was The Multi-Taskers with R2 915 profit made from selling muffins, biscuits, popcorn, and lemon squares. 


The grand prize was a shopping spree at TCB and an outing around the Cape Town with the mentors. The day included the famous Ferris Wheel in the V&A Waterfront, Sea Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay where the winners enjoyed a traditional Cape Town favourite, fish and chips.


Edwards says “Wow, it was an amazing day! The learners were very grateful for the outing and for exposing them to things they were not used to or would not have had the opportunity to enjoy. A huge thank you to Direct Axis and FirstRand Foundation for affording the learners this wonderful, eye-opening experience of a lifetime.”


Mentors learnt as much from the learners as they taught them.


“We also have to thank our five mentors from Direct Axis who volunteered their time and expertise. Sincere thanks to Adiel, Varity, Shannon, Joel and Sergio, says Edwards.


Comments from the mentors:


Adiel says, “Everything about the programme was special. I will never forget the energy in the sessions.


“This programme taught the learners resilience, that they are ENOUGH, and that your feelings are valid. From a business point of view I can see that the learners now know how to make money independently which built their confidence and leadership skills,” says Varity.


“Seeing the change in the learners was incredible. They became confident, motivated, and more aware of their impact and how important they are as people,” says Shannon.


“The highlight of this programme was the powerful relationships built between learners and mentors, which will support them for years to come,” says Joel.


"I am so impressed by how the learner’s confidence developed over the programme,” says Sergio.


“Lokshin Economiz is not just a programme; it's a journey of empowerment, education, and entrepreneurship,” says Edwards



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