The BMF Young Professionals (BMF YP) was established to nurture the development of young professionals in various corporate and entrepreneurship environments. National chairman of the BMF YP, Mandlenkosi Ncube, explains that the organisation was formed to bridge the gap for recent graduates entering the corporate environment, as well as young people starting their businesses, but not finding a home among middle level or senior management.
The BMF YP was specifically developed to equip young professionals who are technically competent with soft skills, to help them become middle managers and ultimately senior managers in a relatively short space of time. “This programme includes modules such as Time Management, Management of the Self, Problem-solving Skills, Investment and People Management Skills,” Ncube explains.
The BMF YP successfully runs the Enterprise Development Summit, which is aimed at both young entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. The event addresses issues such as access to funding and how to efficiently run a business. Now running for three years, attendees have benefited from collaborations and networks that have been made at the event.
Ncube says the long-term vision is to be the most influential youth organisation for young, primarily black, professionals and entrepreneurs in South Africa. “As a collective, the BMF YP is committed to the creation of fundamental economic social change for the benefit of all young professionals,” he says, “and endeavours to unite them in taking their rightful place in the economic affairs of South Africa.”
He explains that the BMF does not make policies. Its role is to influence policy and lobby government on issues of transformation and black ownership, and to agitate corporate South Africa about transformation – because it is when they are questioned that they will see the importance of transformation and implement it.
Godfrey Letsatsi, Gauteng Chair of the BMF YP, is a commercial finance specialist in the motor industry, and has been part of the BMF since his university days. “Having been part of the BMF for some time before becoming the Gauteng YP chair, I surrounded myself with people who are conscious about their development,” he says. “My association with the organisation allowed me to gain an understanding of my role in society and how I can use the BMF brand to improve the lives of other young people.”
Letsatsi says the biggest benefits of being part of the YP include the networks and being able to build relationships with the team and BMF partners. “I have had the privilege of leading the YP in many events/programmes we were involved in, giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts, and also gain knowledge and inspiration from listening to others. This has, in turn, allowed me to grow as a leader and a servant.”
The BMF is mandated to provide members with managerial leadership and to transform the socioeconomic landscape of our country. Through this mandate, the BMF YP hopes to create leaders who are aware of their roles in society. The available programmes address many challenges faced by young people in South Africa.
Letsatsi says he will encourage young people to join the BMF YP because it will provide them with a platform that is empowering. “They will learn how to build networks and great relationships, which are extremely important in the world of work. This programme is upskilling them and will help develop them personally and professionally.”