TechnoServe and LULOTE set to Catalyze Future Business Leaders at the Launch of the School Age Youth Entrepreneurship (SAYE) program in Swaziland

MBABANE, SWAZILAND, MARCH 29, 2007 — TechnoServe and LULOTE officially celebrate their partnership and launch of the School Age Youth Entrepreneurship (SAYE) program at the Tums George Hotel in Manzini. In an effort to catalyze a cultural shift among Swaziland's youth from job seekers to job creators, SAYE is teaching youth aged 16 to 24 to value entrepreneurship and innovation as a means to create jobs and opportunities. SAYE utilizes Junior Achievement's (JA Worldwide) tested and proven curriculum and methodology to implement practical and hands-on youth development programs in business, employment and entrepreneurship.

Mainly underwritten to date by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), SAYE has recently won support from local corporations in a country that shares a passion in promoting the skills of Swaziland's youth through entrepreneurship development. Some of these corporations include Shell, Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation, Illovo, Business Woman of the Year-Entrepreneur (BWYE), SwaziBank, Macmillan and The Swazi Observer.

Swazi Youth Face Enormous Barriers
Today, there are over 1.2 billion youth between the ages of 15 and 24 in the world. An estimated 85% of these young adults live in developing countries where they face numerous barriers including unemployment and underemployment, violence and crime, limited educational opportunities, low marketable skills and high rates of HIV/AIDS infections. With a median age of 19 years, rising unemployment and increasing HIV/AIDS infection rates, Swaziland is no exception. Opportunities are desperately needed in order to develop a cadre of future leaders and entrepreneurs equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to venture into business and, in turn, create urgently needed jobs and opportunities for Swaziland.

“All countries need entrepreneurs, not just employees, in order to grow. The vision shared by SAYE is the creation of a more entrepreneurial culture— with the knowledge and skills to go along with it— that will allow young entrepreneurs to flourish in the developing world. Swaziland, like many other developing nations, will require strong leadership to take charge of the country's economy and lead the nation through the coming decades. The SAYE program provides a vehicle for youth to begin thinking more critically about the decisions they make and equips them with skills that are both marketable and practical,” said Lynn Allison, US Embassy, Charge' d' Affaires a.i.

Pilot Proves Success
In late 2006, TechnoServe and LULOTE piloted Junior Achievement's JA Economics for Success program in three pilot areas of Swaziland, representing urban, peri-urban and rural settings. One hundred and seven youth from eight secondary schools participated in the three pilot sites of Manzini, Piggs Peak and Sibusisweni. The JA Economics for Success program provides an easy-to-understand approach for making decisions, managing finances and understanding business ethics and employment options based on the skills, interests, and values of participants.

According to Manzini students from the Economics for Success pilot, the 'Choose Your Success' topic really has a strong impact on our youth today. The topic enlightens youth on the importance of staying in school and becoming more successful, rather than dropping out of school to get quick cash and not being as successful.
LULOTE's Director, Senator Nokukhanya Gamedze stated that “the time has come for Swaziland to look seriously at addressing the many challenges faced by youth in education, business and employment.”

Next Steps for SAYE
Because the pilot was so successful, the SAYE team is excited about the official launch of the project and plans to work with up to sixteen schools this year. Over the next four years, SAYE will implement at least three proven entrepreneurship development programs that will empower over 7,500 youth across Swaziland, to include:

JA Company Program: Practical training through a combination of in-class lectures & the experience of setting up a company and managing & liquidating it over 15 weeks.
JA Economics for Success: Provides practical information about finance and the importance of identifying educational & career goals based on skills, interests & values.
JA Job Shadow: Gives an opportunity for youth to experience potential careers. Youth visit companies of their interest to observe the realities of real-world employment
Partnerships are Key
SAYE combines the best of Junior Achievement's (JA) curriculum and methodology with TechnoServe's proven and innovative entrepreneurship development interventions and LULOTE's local expertise in business advisory and consulting services. The success of SAYE will, however, depend on the in-kind contributions of the local Swazi communities in which the program will be implemented; local business people, teachers, university students, professionals and civic leaders will all contribute to the program through volunteer teaching, mentoring, guest speaking, and job shadowing.

Celebrate Swaziland's Future Business Leaders
TechnoServe and LULOTE urge the Swazi business community to get involved; SAYE offers multiple opportunities for local business leaders to mentor the country's most promising youth. TechnoServe's Country Director, Mrs Leslie Johnston, said, “We are very excited at the opportunity to invest in Swaziland's future, the youth. SAYE is a great conduit to prepare youth for the real world by providing practical and marketable skills that will in turn translate to an improved business environment for Swaziland.”

About TechnoServe: TechnoServe helps entrepreneurial men and women in the developing world to build businesses that provide jobs, income and economic opportunity. Since its founding in 1968, the U.S.-based nonprofit has helped to create or improve more than 2,000 businesses, benefiting millions of people in 32 countries. TechnoServe is currently working to build and expand businesses in Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda, Ghana, Madagascar, Rwanda, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire and India. TechnoServe has been recognized as one of the world's “Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs” by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

LULOTE is a leading non-profit organization established in 1986 to provide business training and consultancy services in the Kingdom of Swaziland to emerging and established Swazi entrepreneurs, institutions and businesses. LULOTE's mission is to: “Foster economic growth through the development of an entrepreneurial culture and successful Swazi Small and Micro Businesses.” Over the years LULOTE has utilized its participatory approach in sharpening the skills of its clientele in reaching their dreams.

About Junior Achievement
Junior Achievement's mission is to inspire young people to succeed in the global economy. Junior Achievement uses hands-on experiences to help young people understand the economics of life. In partnership with business and educators, Junior Achievement brings the real world to students, opening their minds to their own potential. Junior Achievement is a leading entrepreneurial educational programme, and operates in almost 100 countries.