The MTN SA Foundation is MTN’s primary vehicle for contributing to transformational social change. Through it, MTN is able to deliver a number of structured corporate social investment interventions and contribute to the development of South Africa in an effective manner.
While there are many varied ways of tackling the pressing social issues facing South Africa, the MTN SA Foundation’s approach is to use technology to create shared value in its focal area of education. This flagship programme is complemented by a number of carefully selected themes and interventions designed to allow the Foundation to be responsive in delivering solutions to the most marginalised among us. These include digital inclusion, with a view to equipping young people with the ICT skills they need to cope in a rapidly changing world Tackling the digital divide and equipping young people for the future
The youth of our country are amongst the most powerful drivers of social change and the MTN Foundation wants to harness that spirit to help create the business leaders of the future. ICT in education is vital as it delivers specific scholastic content to individual learners, adapting to the learner’s needs. By harnessing the power of information and communication technologies, learner outcomes can be improved and students adequately prepared to play a meaningful role in the digitised world.
We know that while South Africa has made notable strides in broadening access to telecommunications and technology, the country continues to be characterised by a deep digital divide. This perpetuates unequal access to opportunities, making it harder for historically disadvantaged youth to benefit from employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. We know that while young people are often considered “digital natives”, the majority of them do not possess sufficient digital skills required for them to succeed in the workforce. Given the right support and resources, young people can drive growth and innovation using ICT.
As a major player in the telecommunications industry and employer of a large workforce, MTN believes it has an important role to play in providing youth with opportunities to enhance their ICT skills and long-term career prospects. MTN also has a role to play in creating an enabling environment for innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation in the digital economy. The MTN SA Foundation’s interventions are designed to respond to this challenge.
All the initiatives the MTN SA Foundation support in enterprise skills development will ensure that the next generation of entrepreneurs are equipped with the skills needed to grow and sustain their businesses and become the business leaders of the future.
At school level, the MTN SA Foundation supports the Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship programme (SAGE), which targets teenagers (13 – 10 years) from across the country. The programme is aimed at inspiring and educating teenagers (13 -19 years) about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and the exciting opportunities that exist therein. The programme’s vision is to raise the next generation of teenagers whose innovative ideas address the world’s most pressing challenges as envisaged in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). These challenges include unemployment, poverty and environmental protection.
In partnership with the university of the Free State, the learners are mentored by trained program alumnus who are available throughout the year to assist them with the program business requirements as well as other business-related queries. They also receive assistance in identifying and starting up real businesses that solve critical problems.
Learners furthermore compete against each other at different levels (regional, provincial and finally on a national level) where they have the opportunity to showcase their businesses or business ideas through live presentations to community leaders and industry leaders and ultimately to be crowned South African Teen Entrepreneur of the year. The winners of the national competition then proceed to represent the South Africa at the SAGE World Cup.
At university level, the MTN SA Foundation partners with Enactus South Africa to deliver business training and mentorship to tertiary students across the country. The programme culminates in an annual youth entrepreneurship development competition. Through it, young people are challenged to design projects that demonstrate their entrepreneurial skills and aptitudes. Through the National MTN ICT Challenge, MTN collaborated with Enactus South Africa and challenged University teams to come up with innovative ideas to address social challenges under the categories of Agriculture, Health and Education. 12 universities in South Africa will be funded by MTN SA Foundation to develop and launch their mobile app solutions.
In 2020, 23 universities were involved in the Enactus initiative, with a total of 2 590 students participating. Following their crowning as South African champions, the team from the university of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) will be presenting South Africa in the Word Cup finals with will be hosted for the first time virtually through and on-line platform as a result of Covid-19 and international travel restrictions. This global stage will provide the students an opportunity to go head to head with their peers from around the world at the Enactus World Cup and fly the South African flag.
To support SMMEs, the MTN SA Foundation has partnered with Datacomb Development Hub, the University of the Free State and Hodisang Dipeu Holdings. By supporting this initiative, MTN contributes to the creation of businesses that are robust, innovative and able to develop solutions that address the challenges facing our communities.