“The empowerment of the youth of our country will be the success of our country going forward,” said Graham ‘O Connor, CEO of SPAR South Africa.


For the past eight years , leading South African retailer, the SPAR Group, has joined hands with the Mr Price Foundation to empower young South Africans through Jump Start, the Mr Price Foundation’s successful work readiness programme.  Both partners are determined to solve the problem of youth unemployment, one of the country’s biggest challenges. 

Since 2008 the Jump Start programme has provided matriculants with critical entry level skills and linked them to job opportunities in retail and supply chain which has resulted in more than 35,000 unemployed youth being trained, with over 13,000 careers being jump started in the retail industry. The SPAR Group has invested well over R10 million in the programme, ensuring that it recruits youth who are passionate about the retail industry and can connect with SPAR’s vision, values and culture.

The programme has also taught foundational life skills and hands-on work experience retail environment. The skills development programme which bridges the gap between school and the world of work helps the youth enter the job market better prepared. 

The Jump Start programme has also been recognised by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as a ‘good practice’ for youth unemployment in Africa. As a socio-economic flagship programme of the African Union (AU), NEPAD’s four primary objectives are to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable growth and development, integrate Africa in the world economy and accelerate the empowerment of women.

Over the past five years, the SPAR Group has also partnered with the Mr Price Foundation on it’s biggest annual fundraising event, the 606km Ride for Mr Price Foundation, a two-day cycle ride from Secunda to Durban. To date, the Ride with Purpose has raised over R5 million for the Foundation’s education and skills development programmes.

Due to the impact and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 event has evolved into the Mr Price Foundation Challenge. In partnership with the Comrades Marathon, the virtual event will provide the opportunity for people around South Africa and the world to uplift the youth by running or riding various distances. Entrants stand a chance of winning a range of prizes including two R20,000 travel vouchers from SPAR, as well as six R6,000 SPAR shopping vouchers. 

“As the Mr Price Foundation, we strongly believe in joining hands with other like-minded individuals and entities. We firmly understand that we can’t do this on our own and we need to join hands with different people who share our common purpose,” said Karen Wells, Head of the Mr Price Foundation. 

For more information on the Jump Start programme in partnership with the SPAR Group read Siphokazi Mangesi’s inspiring career story and journey of hope here.


STRONG WOMAN: Siphokazi Mangesi, a Store Clerk in the Inventory Department at the SPAR Distribution Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, is a shining example of the partnership outcomes between the SPAR Group and the Mr Price Foundation’s work readiness programme, Jump Start. Image: MRP Foundation / Ross Charnock