Dear Valued YES Partner,
Now, more than ever, the dream that started in 1976 and the future of our Youth is under siege. Against the backdrop of the global #BlackLivesMatter movement and the uncertain world of COVID-19, many young people are suffering through scary and uncertain times.
We surveyed over 2,200 YES Youth to better understand their lockdown experiences and the economic impact of COVID-19.
Your investment matters. We cannot leave another generation behind. Power to you for taking a stand by saying YES to creating a future that works. Over 36,000 lives have been impacted and launched into the working world. It is up to us to continue to kickstart the new economy. You’re all critical players in the employment ecosystem and we need to make our efforts count, amplifying them through collaboration, playing our part and saying YES to Youth futures. This Youth Month, we want to reflect on the impact you have made on the lives of Youth.
Our first export order of quality masks, proudly made in Diepsloot and Alexandra, has been delivered to the EU. This consignment of masks exported to Belgium could offer a blueprint for helping township businesses improve their quality and competitiveness to the point that they can tap into export markets.
Thanks to our partnerships, it is now possible for YES to offer local economies some relief through quality mask production and distribution, that also helps flatten the COVID-19 curve. Each mask that is sold drives money back into the hands of young craftspeople and entrepreneurs and into township economies.
To date, YES has partnered with Telesure, Uber, ExemplarREITail, Essa Steel, BioTherm, DM Minerals, M&C Saatchi Abel, Maitland, Winder Controls and Michelin, while engaging with other stakeholders to scale quickly. In seven weeks, over 118,000 masks were produced, resulting in a desperately needed injection of over R1m into township businesses that were cut off from any earning lifelines during lockdown. The products are comfortable, durable and well-made PPE, compliant with government regulations and fully customisable for brands.
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YES Youth are innovating with incredible digital strategies to help SMMEs cross the digital divide. SMMEs are particularly hard hit by the lockdown.
Post-COVID changes will result in permanent shifts in how commerce and trade work. Many smaller businesses are not geared to trade digitally or expose consumers to their products.
YES has given a pilot group of disadvantaged Youth the skills to become digitally equipped for the future. And we are now ramping this up. Fully-fledged e-commerce platforms with payment gateways have been created and launched to assist 450 small businesses to continue their operations electronically, also exposing them to a whole new market that can accelerate their growth.
Why this innovation has real potential:
- Youth can serve SMMEs more cost-effectively than alternatives.
- They apply fresh and creative thinking to problems: more critical now than ever.
- Youth have deeper digital competencies and capabilities, and greater social media savviness.
- Youth market segments are the largest. Youth understand their peers as customers and can offer insights into, and access to, that market. They can even become peer leaders and brand ambassadors.
Learning during Lockdown
YES has introduced COVID-19 modules on its learning platform to educate YES Youth about the virus, safe hygiene practices, flattening the curve and how to share this knowledge with members of their communities. Youth have also been completing surveys to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their lives and are rewarded with certificates to showcase on their LinkedIn profiles, Zlto points and other incentives like Woolworths vouchers.
Have your Youth cohorts #BeatenCOVID-19?
Over 14,000 Youth registered for the Beat COVID-19 module. Over 2,700 Youth have already graduated, showing how well Youth are engaging with the content. Let’s champion even more Youth conquering COVID-19.
Saluting YES heroes with a badge!
Companies have already received their YES badges! Your business can continue to lead from the front by displaying the “A Proudly YES member” badge on your website and/or social media. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a request.
The future begins now, and we can’t wait to grow it with you. We want to thank you for saying YES and helping to ignite the new economy this Youth Month.