Over 800 young delegates descended to the Sandton Convention Centre on Tuesday, joining more than 20 JSE-listed companies and organizations for the launch of the Information & Opportunities Expo hosted by the Motsepe Foundation.

The exhibition showcased available job prospects, internships, and skills development opportunities to unemployed youth.

Alongside expo partner exhibition booths, delegates, both in-person and on-line, were inspired by speakers including Dr Patrice Motsepe and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, Shirley Machaba and Clement Maosa. Trevor Noah made a special appearance, encouraging the delegates to persevere with his personal story.

Leveraging their stakes in companies African Rainbow Minerals, Harmony, Tymebank, Sanlam, Rain, Agri-Enterprise, Sundowns FC and African Fashion International, the co-founders of the Motsepe Foundation garnered additional partnerships from Naspers, Discovery, PwC, SNG Grant Thornton, Accenture, Cell C, RCL Foods Do More Foundation, Youth Empowerment Services, Harambee, Think Tank, Tsebo, MIT Jwel, and the Mr Price Foundation.

Together, these companies offered more than 700 labour market opportunities to delegates who are considered to be outside the scope of their current.

These included placements by Naspers Labs in accounting, digital skills and other areas for 160 youth, 160 graduate opportunities in ARM and another 60 in Harmony over the next three years, internships in rain, Tyme Bank, Think Tank and Sundowns FC, as well as learnerships in Sanlam, RCL Foods, and skills development and placement opportunities in Tsebo.

Sydney Mbhele Chief Executive for Brand at Sanlam said “Sanlam is pleased to collaborate on the Information & Opportunities Motsepe Foundation Expo which is a welcome initiative that seeks to unlock opportunities for young entrepreneurs and will go a long way to empower youth financially. Africa has one of the youngest populations relative to the rest of the world and we should support this populace because they represent the next generation of economically active people and entrepreneurs in our globalized economy. Our youth must be provided opportunities to be engaged and contribute to the continent’s growth.”

A highlight of the full-day programme was the anticipated Golden Circle, a platform for emerging entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to executives including Allan Raiz, Brain Dames, Brian Smith, Herman Singh and Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa. Two start-ups, the food delivery platform Kasi Flavour and edutech platform E-Rank, each received a prize to the value of R80,000.

rain said “We are proud to have been part of the Motsepe Foundation Information and Opportunities Expo, and to contribute towards the great work that the Foundation is doing in the technology sector. It was a huge success.  We can’t wait to connect and engage with the next generation of tech savvy graduates we met. Young people who are excited to start their journeys in the world of technology. And help South Africa to take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Empowerment sessions gave youth skills, knowledge and advice on mindsets, and included sessions on entrepreneurship, employability, digital skills and financial savvy.

Mark Joseph, of Mindful Revolution, provided tools for wellness, acknowledging the psychological toll unemployment can have on young people with immense aspiration.

“The goal of the Information & Opportunities Expo is to create and facilitate at least 1 million opportunities for South Africa’s unemployed youth over the next five years. The support from multistakeholder partners has launched the beginning of fulfilling this shared vision,” said the CEO of the Motsepe Foundation, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.

“What we’ve learned about the youth, their creativity for business and their desire to contribute to building an inclusive economy, will be channelled into workshops and an online platform that will sustain access to available opportunities from our expo partners until we meet again in 2023.”

“We also call on other companies and stakeholders to join this initiative and help us address youth unemployment.”