Stepping ahead with JumpStart 

Durban brothers Suhail Rajah (right) and Ismail Rajah (left) are successful alumni of the JumpStart Professional Retail Programme.  


Mr Price Foundation is proud of JumpStart graduates, Suhail and Ismail Rajah. These Durban-raised brothers have taken the future firmly in their stride since completing the JumpStart Production Retail Programme (PRP). A Merchandise Planner at Mr Price, Ismail says the PRP taught him the inner workings of the retail world and is a great stepping stone to what lies ahead


His brother Suhail, who recently stepped into the shoes of Strategy Manager at prominent global shoe manufacturer Bata Group, completed the programme in 2017.  Encompassing functions like buying, planning and operations, the programme delivers valuable insights into the retail and manufacturing industry.  


“The PRP presented me with the opportunity to nurture essential soft skills, including effective communication and how to develop a strong work ethic. This is crucial for successful teamwork in professional settings. It also encouraged participants to be their authentic selves in pursuing their goals. It instilled self-confidence and a belief in our potential to achieve significant achievements through diligence and innovation,” says Suhail.   


The PRP fuelled Suhail’s ambition and in the next six years, his career journey was marked by growth and recognition. He transitioned from an allocator at Mr Price Home to a trainee planner at Mr Price Sport.  His achievements shone as he received the “Rookie of The Year” award for his positive impact within just 18 months, leading to a promotion as Junior Planner.   


Then, an opportunity emerged in 2023 to step into a Strategy Manager role at Bata, a prominent global footwear manufacturer, for the Africa & Middle East (AME) region. This pivotal new role was created to support Bata’s expansion plans and marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Suhail.  


“My primary focus over the next two to three years is firmly on my current role, where I aim to create value by thoroughly analysing market dynamics, evaluating product line performance, and monitoring the execution of critical business initiatives. These initiatives include opening new format marquee stores, fostering wholesale growth, digitally transforming the business through the use of technology and expanding into new markets across Africa and the Middle East.”   


Suhail’s fresh perspective and strategic insights are shaped by his education and skills training accomplishments. In addition to his JumpStart PRP certificate, he holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing Management, a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management (PGDBM), 21st Century Skills Certificate.   


Suhail has a passion for driving growth and innovation and encourages other young people starting off on their retail careers to always be on the hunt for opportunities. “Embrace the opportunity to learn from your colleagues, ask lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to share your ideas for business growth.”   


Mr Price Foundation congratulates Suhail and Ismail on taking the next steps in their careers. Just as they are committed to growth – so too is JumpStart committed to unlocking tomorrow’s potential in South Africa’s youth! 


Applications for the PRP are currently closed. They will reopen in October 2024. 


Read more about Ismail next month!

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