Levi’s® Pioneer Nation is a progressive movement born from the reality facing all young Africans today: a world without enough jobs, regardless of your skill level or education. Unlike the recent explosion of events which feature repetitive line-ups of entrepreneurship speakers, the Levi’s® Pioneer Nation Festival offers a line up packed with business lessons and backstories from a diverse mix of 40 of today’s hottest young South African entrepreneurs. The two-day event features these young speakers on two stages, with business building workshops, speed-mentoring, the Pioneer Opportunity Fair exhibit space and lots of networking opportunities. The Festival is inspired by Levi Strauss’ own story of a humble entrepreneur who saw an enormous opportunity others overlooked. It was Strauss’ business acumen and perseverance that gave birth to the Levi’s® global denim empire. Modern pioneers in every industry Live in Levi’s® which makes the brand the perfect catalyst for Pioneer Nation: a movement committed to changing the narrative from jobs to entrepreneurship.
Levi’s® Pioneer Nation is on a mission to change the future of our economy and the face of our neighborhoods, by connecting a generation with good ideas and great passion and converting them into a movement of young entrepreneurs, running small and sustainable businesses that are able to empower and uplift their communities. Levi’s® Pioneer Nation 2014 brought 500 participants into the heart of Braamfontein, Johannesburg to hear some of South Africa’s most notable up and coming entrepreneurs share their honest backstories of struggle and success. Year 1 set the Levi’s® Pioneer Nation movement in motion; a movement with the vision of creating an Africa-wide community to connect and amplify the millions of pioneering young entrepreneurs who hold the future of this continent in their hands. Levi’s® Pioneer Nation 2015 unleashed a far bigger Festival at the Sci Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg with 850 participants choosing from a programme of 40 diverse young pioneers across 3 stages sharing their entrepreneurial journeys. Many of the speakers also participated in mentoring “Sofa Sessions” with participants. 2015 also offered a carefully curated line-up of workshops tailored to build young businesses. Sessions hosted by Facebook, Fast Company Magazine, Red Bull’s Amaphiko Social Entrepreneurs Academy, Storyteller Nthato Molefe, Afri-Entrepreneur Shaka Sisulu and Angel investors were packed out with eager minds. The event also managed to squeeze in the finals of the THUD/Pioneer Nation University Business Pitch Battles that saw one lucky lady walking away with R10,000 in start up funding and a new wardrobe for the modern entrepreneur, courtesy of Levi’s®. 2016 has seen the inclusion of two Bootcamps hosted in collaboration with Beyond The Lemonade Stand, in the run up to the annual Levi’s® Pioneer Nation Festival.