Waitrose Foundation At Work

The power of Partnership: Our Youth Entrepreneurship Programme is changing lives

November 2023

Our Youth Entrepreneurship Programme, in partnership with the School of Entrepreneurship, launched in February of 2023, is having the impact we’ve been hoping it will have. Looking back over the year, we’ve captured a few feedback moments shared by our participants. These words were transcribed from a video taken when the Western Cape group gathered at Rustic Venues, Boontjiesrivier, in the Wolseley district. During the November meeting week, the group (from various grower partner farms in the area) gathered for five days. They received computer instruction, had guest speakers who covered a number of topics, and used the time to complete outstanding assignments, supported by our Waitrose Foundation representative, Moira Daniels.

“I am Ms Leonie Julius, from Robertson. I live on a farm called De Wilger where grapes, citrus, apricots, and peaches are being farmed. I live in a very beautiful area. I’ve been part of the SOE this year – the School of Entrepreneurship. It was an honour for me to be part of this group, especially as I’ve encountered so many challenges in my life. I was unemployed for a long time, but I met people from Waitrose and they offered me this opportunity for which I am very grateful.

I’ve learnt so much this year. Even though I’ve been busy with some small businesses to put food on the table, it was good for me to learn. I do business, but I don’t have much knowledge. So, this year I’ve learnt a lot and got so much out of each session. In the past I ‘froze’ at times, I stagnated, especially with small businesses. I didn’t know how to deal with customers. And mostly when doing business, I thought with my ‘heart’. I didn’t realise you can apply your mind to your business. So, the School of Entrepreneurship really taught me a lot.

I now look forward to getting into business more. It was a healthy process of growth for me – something I am truly grateful for and an opportunity I got through Waitrose. I got incredible support from people. I received messages. There were challenges. I was unemployed, at times I had no data, but still they supported me and understood my circumstances. That was what I learnt about them – that they look after us who are less fortunate. I appreciate that support and the opportunities.

Working with computers is a passion of mine. When going into business you must be able to work with computers. I am an artist. I ‘freeze’ a bit. I didn’t know how to move forward. But this opportunity most certainly has given me the opportunity to move forward and to grab with both hands what’s been given to me. So, I am very excited.

We also had an excellent mentor who facilitated the classes, Ms Magda Serfontein. She worked with us so well. You see a computer, you know that people work with it, but when you sit in front of it, you hesitate – you don’t know what to do. But Ms Serfontein made us feel very comfortable – she met us where we were at. Whatever we didn’t understand, she explained. She was 100% committed and made time for us. In this relatively short period, we learnt so much. When we got to the computers, we thought: what is this in front of me? What must I do? But I promise you, within two days, you get used to the computer, you know what to do. You know and can apply what you’ve learnt. It made me feel so confident and at ease.

I now look forward to what is ahead. I have hope as a single mom about what I can do and how I can provide for myself and my child. Also, maybe about what I can teach others next time – like our farming community people who don’t have the confidence yet. The ones battling with self-confidence. Maybe I can inspire them. So, I appreciate all of the opportunities through the SOE and Waitrose, for everything that they are giving us who are less fortunate. We often pray that people will come to help. And this is an opportunity of a lifetime that we can maximise.”