Catalyst Participants Discover a World of Opportunity

Since 2016, 81 unemployed, post-school youth have been trained in the enke: Catalyst Program and they are rediscovering a world of opportunity.

Over 6 million youth in South Africa are not in education, employment or training (NEET). The impact of this goes beyond the statistics of a high youth unemployment rate; it has massive psycho-social, economic and behaviourial consequences that lead to a continuum of hopelessness:

To tackle this we created and launched the enke: Catalyst Program in 2016 to:

  • Break the continuum of hopelessness. Work with post-school, unemployed youth to rebuild their self-belief and resilience through training, practical experience and inspiration.
  • Inspire and support a bias toward entrepreneurial thinking and innovation by helping young people develop the skills, networks and desire to identify and access opportunity.
  • Help youth place themselves into employment, education or enterprise
  • Build a scalable program to reach hundreds of thousands of youth by 2030


From our first pilot cohort of 45 youth that started in October 2016, we realised that the behaviourial and practical components of the Program have short and long-term benefits in turning around youth NEET rates. In 2017 we ran our second cohort and replicated the results. Of the 36 youth trained in 2017, 31 are now economically active and no longer NEET. What’s particularly exciting is that these young people have placed themselves into their chosen pathway.

Cumulative enke: Catalyst Results

We are still in touch with our first cohort and of those who converted out of NEET, 72% have stayed economicaly active for over 12 months post-program. Yes – 72% have retained their opportunities!

Our goal was to design a program that builds self-directed, independent engagement and, from the results, it looks like we are on the right track. Feedback from Catalyst participants is that there is more should  do to develop pipelines of opportunity for Catalysts to ease their way. This forms part of the next steps for our program development.

In 2018, we started with 58 youth in the enke: Catalyst Program. It is a new iteration and further test running it as 2-day workshops over 20 weeks, including accredited training in New Venture Creation. This new iteration of the Program is already yielding results. We are excited to be building partnerships to expand the program and work with others to scale it’s impact.

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