Mbabane: Manzini Nazarene High School, Nagrotech (Pty) Ltd, a Junior Achievement (JA) initiated company will be representing the African continent at the Raphael de la Vega prize (JA World Cup).
Nagrotech (Pty) Ltd was crowned the JA Africa Company of the Year in March 2021 in the competition that was hosted by the Kingdom of Eswatini virtually, leading ten (10) countries.
The news about Manzini Nazarene High School Nagrotech (Pty) Ltd representing the entire African continent were revealed on Wednesday, April 28, when the business owners paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo Wednesday. The event was held at SEDCO Head offices in Mbabane.
Nagrotech (Pty) Ltd Chief Executive Officer Sivesethu Bhembe acknowledged the Ministry of Commerce for sponsoring Junior Achievement for over the past years as the Ministry pumps in E500 000 to JA annually as a subvention. Bhembe who is also a learner from Manzini Nazarene High School appreciated JA Eswatini for allowing pupils to learn about Entrepreneurship and allowing them to showcase their skills.
He explained that the journey of Nigrotech began in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the country and the world at large. He said as students, they sat down and noticed the havoc that was spreading around the country in terms of food security and they realised the hiking of food prices more especially vegetables. Bhembe made an example of lattice which saw it prices skyrocketing from E7 to E29.
Bhembe said they also noted that people from urban areas could not plant their vegetables due to the fact that they do not have land in towns and they have busy lifestyles. He said having noticed all that, him and his peers, they then thought of a solution to mitigate the food shortage more especially vegetables. He said then that was the birth of the smart mobile tower garden and the liquid nutriated solution which is a complementary product to the Hydroponic system.
He said as the product was initiated by JA competition, Nigrotech went on to compete nationally and they won and from they then went on to represent the Kingdom in Africa. He said during the African competition, they won a number of awards namely the Grand Prize, PMIEF, FedEx global possibilities and the best CEO award.
Bhembe said looking at their business perspective, they are planning on getting their business into full scale. He said now that Africa will be waiting to hear from Nigrotech, him and his team, they had deliberated on the future of their company as they will be going to tertiary institutions next year where they will learn more about different aspects of their business. He said it was unfortunately that some of the skills they want to acquire were not available in the country.
Minister of Commerce Manqoba Khumalo congratulated the young people on their initiative. He said it was of such a huge milestone for the country to host this highly esteemed competition and that has put the Kingdom on the map of Africa and the world at large. Khumalo congratulated the Manzini Nazarene High School pupils for winning the African competition and the other awards they won. He said he was amazed at the Hydroponic product that the pupils came up with as the world is faced with climate change, shortage of land and other necessary resources for agriculture.
He said this product which is a mobile garden will give people a solution to the number of challenges that the country and the world is facing towards food security.
Khumalo urged the nation to support such an initiative so that everyone can be food secured and have vegetables at disposal in homes.
He appreciated the support from the Standard Bank and ESSCOM for supporting JA Eswatini. He said the government will also continue supporting JA Eswatini’s initiatives on an annual basis. “It is our mandate to ensure that youth participation in economic recovery of the continent and in individual countries is prioritized,” said Khumalo.
Junior Achievement Executive Director Phetsile Masilela also congratulated the Champions who have made Eswatini and Africa proud. Masilela said the milestone started in 2020 when 29 schools participated in the JA Company Regional Expo. 29 business ideas were born out of this program, from these, the top three (3) became Manzini Nazarene, Ekukhanyeni High and St Mary’s High School.
Masilela said over the years 450 business ideas have been produced by the inter-school youth and those ideas are then developed further through the Business Development Support department which is the Out of School Youth Program.
She also revealed that at least 3 500 students were now members of Lubane Cooperative, some have already joined tertiary as they completed school over the years.
She also revealed that JA Eswatini has also forged a new relationship with UNICEF for 2021 and 2022. She said for this current year, JA Eswatini programs will be growing to 20 more high schools which will result in 75 schools in total. In 2022, schools will increase to 85 through the program.
She said through their program an incubation hub in the Shiselweni region will be launched and it will see 160 young people getting access to 160 computers and internet services for business development purposes.