Thanks to the Beach Boys’ 80s hit, Barbara Ann, Jamboree 2014 had its own theme song. The halls of the Protea Hotel in Techno Park, Stellenbosch, where this year’s Jamboree took place, are still reverberating with the vibey, energetic and upbeat tune “Jam jam jam, jam jam-boree-ee-ee!!! Twenty fourtee-ee-een!!!
This year’s Jamboree was held from 18-19 July and again saw the bold and brave Candidate Fellows pitch their ideas to a crowd of about 250 people. Previous Jamborees have always been spoken of with great excitement and enthusiasm and since this one was my first, I am happy to say that the event lived up to its expectations.
The event’s opening address was a passionate plea by Matsi Modise, the Executive National Director of the South African Black Entrepreneurs Forum, to help previously disadvantaged people in South Africa and Africa gain access to entrepreneurial opportunities.
Afterward the Candidate Fellows took to the stage to each present their 30-second elevator pitches. Of the 57 ideas presented only 10 made it through to the finals. The 10 finalists presented their ideas to a panel of industry experts the following day. The winning idea at Jamboree 2014 was that of Naeem Ganey. His idea was based on versatile home automation technology. Matthew Piper, whose idea was a student investment platform, and Karidas Tshintsholo, who presented the idea of a South African clothing brand, took second and third place respectively. Naeem will be eligible to apply for seed funding for his idea from E2, a partner of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation that provides venture capital financing to Allan Gray Fellows who wish to start their own businesses.
Besides giving Candidate Fellows the opportunity to vie for seed capital for their business ideas, Jamboree also allows them the opportunity to apply their minds and become innovation fit, that is, develop the required fitness to turn questions and challenges into innovative solutions. The quality of ideas presented at Jamboree 2014 testified to the fact that the Candidate Fellows were well on their way to thinking innovatively and progressively. The Candidate Fellows are truly a creative group with a strong desire to impact and shape the future of South Africa. They continue to unleash their own greatness by speaking up and sharing their ideas. They have challenged my thinking regarding entrepreneurship; recognising inefficiencies as opportunities for growth and change. As the Cape Regional Manager of the Fellowship I am excited to be working with these young people and to contribute in a small way to the long term development of these future high-impact, responsible entrepreneurs.