The new Shell LiveWIRE South Africa v2 programme has been launched on the 16th October at a special event in Bryanston, hosted by the Chairman of Shell South Africa, Bonang Mohale.

As well as helping to alleviate high youth unemployment (currently youth unemployment is above 50%) by equipping young people with the essential skills they need to plan and start up sustainable businesses, the new Shell LiveWIRE v2 programme will provide a gateway to finance, innovation and market development opportunities. Start ups assisted by the programme will also be given the opportunity to fill gaps that have been identified in Shell South Africa’s value chain, thereby contributing to local content development and potentially creating a new wave of Shell suppliers.

Businesses started by the Shell LiveWIRE programme will benefit from three years’ of post-start up support services including access to mentoring, business incubation, growth finance and market linkages to ensure that they develop and grow to achieve their potential.

Initially, Shell LiveWIRE v2 will focus on Gauteng province, targeting young people aged 16-34, with a special focus on developing black and black women owned businesses, in line with the Governments’ Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) economic transformation policy, and it is expected that 20% of businesses started by the programme will enter Shell South Africa’s supply chain.

50 aspiring entrepreneurs from Gauteng province have already completed Shell LiveWIRE’s ‘Bright Ideas’ business ideas generation training, and at the end of November they will embark on a week-long ‘Business Planning & Management Training’ course. Candidates will then begin an intensive two months pre-start up enterprise development training module commencing in January 2015, during which Shell will pay participants’ transport and start up costs, and April 2015 will mark the start of Shell LiveWIRE’s three year post-start up support programme.

Bonang Mohale, Chairman of Shell South Africa said, “Shell is excited to launch the revitalised version of LiveWIRE. We believe this new format will prepare young people with relevant skills that meet market demands. LiveWIRE is a natural extension of our commitment to minimise poverty, unemployment, and inequality, and ultimately power the development of South Africans.”

Raizcorp, a leader in business incubation and enterprise and supplier development, has partnered with Shell and will facilitate the LiveWIRE v2 programme. “We have to commit to investing in the youth of South Africa and empowering them to become successful entrepreneurs,” said Allon Raiz, CEO of Raizcorp.

“In a world where quantity is valued more than quality, Raizcorp remains resolute that the selection of a smaller number of top quality entrepreneurs will result in a stronger, more positive local impact. The LiveWIRE programme is a high-quality programme that will equip quality entrepreneurs with the necessary entrepreneurial skills and training, so that they have the highest chance of participating and growing our economy.”

Over 90 distinguished guests attended the launch, which included notable media outlets, including CCTV, and CNBC who interviewed Vusi Ngidi, Shell South Africa’s Enterprise Development Lead. At the event, Hemant Lala, Shell South Africa’s CX Manager spoke about the history of Shell LiveWIRE South Africa and the programme globally, and former Shell South Africa LiveWIRE, Motselisi Malebo described the impact the programme has had on the development of her ice manufacturing business, which supplies ice to retail businesses and households in her local market in Vereeniging in the Vaal Triangle, Gauteng. Today, Motselisi employs seven staff and supplies 1,000 bags of ice each day to over 30 business customers, including restaurants, supermarkets, petrol stations, and pubs.

Ntobeko Mogadime, Programme Manager of Shell LiveWIRE South Africa said, “We are very excited by the level of interest shown in the new programme, with over 600 young people applying for the first 50 places.

“Our customised enterprise support will equip young entrepreneurs with the essential skills, knowledge and resources to create sustainable businesses with the potential to grow to become substantial employers, and I look forward to seeing a significant number of them become part of Shell’s supply chain.”