A number of years ago the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation launched an initiative to increase the pool of applicants for the Allan Gray Fellowship. The Circle of Excellence (COE) initiative connected the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation with 100 schools for the first time in 2008. The annual COE selection serves as recognition and appreciation for the work that these schools are doing in developing exceptional individuals with high entrepreneurial potential. Schools are selected based on the number of Candidate Allan Gray Fellows they have produced over the previous five years. In other words, schools from where applicants have either been invited to a selection camp or accepted into the Allan Gray Fellowship are tracked over a five-year period and the most successful 100 schools based on these metrics are then recognised annually as COE members.
We believe that by supporting a network of feeder high schools we will enhance not just the number of applications we receive but also the quality of the applicants as well. By partnering with these schools we aim to grow their exposure to entrepreneurial thinking and practices and promote the inclusion of such principles and practices in their school curricula, thus promoting our mandate of entrepreneurial progress in South Africa.
Among the 100 schools selected this year for 2015, 16 are new COE members and 84 schools are being recognised once again for their contribution.
Each year the principal of each COE school is invited to attend the Circle of Excellence Principals’ Conference where they have the opportunity to engage and network with like-minded individuals. They are also exposed to entrepreneurial thought leadership, development tools and practice. In addition, the conference is also an opportunity for the Foundation to thank the COE schools and their leaders for the critically important role they are playing in setting a solid foundation from which our country’s next generation of change agents can build.
The 2015 edition of this conference will be held in Johannesburg in September and will be hosted at the African Leadership Academy.