Big business and world renowned mentors to empower young entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs will now be able to brainstorm, raise questions, kick-start discussions and build their network with industry leaders like Basetsana Kumalo, Executive Chairman and CEO of Basetsana Woman Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd; Khanyisile Kweyama, Executive Director of Anglo American; Bob Diamond, Founder and Non-Executive Director of Atlas Mara; Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder Mara Group & Mara Foundation, and Yershen Pillay, Executive Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency.

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Mara Foundation, today, launched an exciting new e-mentoring platform to empower and inspire South Africa’s young talented entrepreneurs. This platform will connect young novice entrepreneurs with captains of industry through an exciting, interactive online app.

According to NYDA Executive Chairperson Yershen Pillay, “Mentorship is an integral part of youth development and for that reason, the NYDA is proud to partner in this vital and exciting cyberspace initiative. The NYDA e-monitoring programme powered by Mara Mentor will serve as a community where young people not only develop business expertise, but also learn important life skills by connecting with their peers and mentors. We encourage all young South Africans to sign up at any one of the NYDA’s existing 14 branches, 178 local youth offices or through the NYDA, call centre, website and social media platforms.”

Ashish J. Thakkar – Founder of Mara Group & Mara Foundation, “Technology is the key to unlocking the potential of entrepreneurs in South Africa. We want to seize the opportunity presented by the proliferation of mobile phones on the continent, to provide more young people with the expert advice that they need to launch and grow their businesses. I know that for entrepreneurs at the start of their journey, fear of failure can be a very real obstacle to their progress. For me, the best way to overcome that fear is to access guidance from real business experts.  That is why we have developed Mara Mentor – the tool that every entrepreneurs needs in their pocket. We are thrilled to launch Mara Mentor with President Zuma and collaborate with the NYDA to create a new wave of young entrepreneurs across South Africa.”

Mara Mentor is an online community that connects ambitious entrepreneurs with experienced business leaders. The initiative encourages idea and knowledge sharing among Africa’s most talented young entrepreneurs, stimulating a collaborative approach to business start-up and growth. Mara Mentor is an initiative of Mara Foundation, Founded by African entrepreneur Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder of Mara Group

The National Youth Development Agency is a state entity responsible for youth development in South Africa. It is located in the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa and supports young South Africans with various programmes.

Key global stakeholders include EY, UN Women, YALI while major local partners like ABSA, MTN and Vodacom have also come on board.



For media enquiries contact:

Nawhal Kara-Foster

National Youth Development Agency

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 071 897 7575