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This article highlights the importance of skills development and training for empowering the unemployed men, women and youth in entrepreneurial activities, based on experience gained from the Molemole Indigenous Food Processing Cooperative (MIFPC), established in 2006 in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. The establishment of this cooperative was propelled by the high abundance of indigenous prickly pears and marula wild fruits which are utilised for commercial purposes. The objective is to improve people’s livelihood in the area which is characterised by high rates of unemployment, semiskilled labourers, especially among the youth and young parents. The MIFPC establishment is also in accordance with the policy on recognition and promotion of indigenous knowledge systems launched by the Department of Science and Technology in South Africa. The policy emphasizes the use of people centred pedagogy as it maximises locally available skills, and empower the poor to learn by themselves. The MIFPC consists of eight women and two men and produces marula jelly, prickly pear jam, juice and peanut butter. The participants have high commitment for self enhancement to an extent that they get orders from government, private sector and local community members for their products. The project’s establishment has encouraged entrepreneurial skills development which is seen as the creator of wealth, capital and large organisational empires for poverty eradication in the area.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, indigenous knowledge systems, food processing, poverty, skills development, unemployment.