A burning desire to make an impact

A burning desire to make an impact

Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 9.19.03 AMLethabo Motswaledi always had a burning desire to live a life that made an impact. She might not have been able to name an exact career, but she knew it would involve doing her own thing and she knew it would have to big. She recalls: “As a child who was fortunate enough to be from a family of accomplished individuals, I felt that I had big shoes to fill and that I had to make something of myself.”

With a business on the go in the cutting-edge industry of 3D printing, she’s well on her way to filling those shoes. 3DPower, which she started with classmate Matthew Westaway, has been running for two years and already they are celebrating the launch of two products. Hello Baby 3D Prints allows expectant parents to see their baby before its birth! Theirs is the first company in Africa to successfully convert 3D ultrasounds into 3D prints. Their second product, The Hourglass Project, forms part of a nation building project that enjoys support from both the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the World Design Organisation. A 3D sculpture of Nelson Mandela over an hourglass gets activated on July 18th to trigger 67 minutes of activism. Very soon they will also be launching an accredited skills programme aimed at training people in modern craft production using 3D technology.

Lethabo and Matthew’s paths crossed at UCT where they both studied Geomatics Engineering, which, in a nutshell, is all about spatial design. Having studied a degree that “allowed for the visualisation of the real world in 3D software,” Lethabo explains that 3D printing was a natural avenue to explore. What started out as a hobby quickly turned into products that could be commercialised. The technology underpinning 3D Power’s services allows clients to travel from idea to tangible product in a straight line. In other words, there are no pit stops or detours involving moulds and testing numerous iterations of that mould until it’s just right. Theirs is a business that not only saves you hours but rands and material as well.

Even though Lethabo couldn’t articulate an intended career when she was young, this state of not knowing only lasted until she turned 16. That’s when she decided to become an entrepreneur. She recalls eagerly filling in the application for the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellowship, feeling like she was born to answer some of the questions and taking it far more seriously than her university application. “I felt that regardless of what I studied, I would always ultimately pursue a life in entrepreneurship, which is something that isn’t easily taught.” This mindset and the hands-on experience the Foundation afforded her explains why she turned down every job offer she received and chose instead to dive right into the world of startups.

Of her experience in the Fellowship Lethabo says: “I would encourage anyone with a burning desire to make an impact to apply for the Fellowship. This is because the Fellowship not only provides immense opportunities, but because it surrounds one with like-minded individuals who are just as passionate about making an impact.” This burning desire of Lethabo’s led her to apply not only for the Fellowship but for the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship as well. “All my life I remember feeling like I needed to do something special enough to meet Mr Mandela.” She couldn’t quite manage to extend Tata Madiba’s years on this earth, but by being awarded the scholarship she finds comfort in knowing that she is part of the legacy he created. “This is extremely significant to me.”

The other significant achievement of hers is making the brave decision to pursue a life of entrepreneurship right after her degree studies. “I eat, live and breathe my startup.” Such expressions of job satisfaction are rare but always a sign that someone is doing what they were born to do.

On Lethabo’s five-to-ten-year to-do list is growing the 3D Power team (so that her and Matthew’s have-to-do-today lists can be spread out a little more), taking part in constructive dialogue as often as possible (so she can continue learning how to make an impact) and ensuring that her brand (both her company’s and her own) becomes well known locally and abroad.

What must rise? | By Zimkhitha Peter

What must rise? | By Zimkhitha Peter

The past year has been described as a year of fallism in South Africa. The #FeesMustFall movement has given rise to a new generation of controversial student activists. Following on that, #MustFall became a mantra for anything and anyone that we disagreed with.

Towards the end of the year, some prominent South African leaders started asking ‘What must rise?’ as a counter to fallism. What can we all put our energies towards improving our society? This reframing is characteristic of the Foundation’s approach to investing in young people who want to positively change our country. For us at the Foundation, we believe that for South Africa to begin to fulfil its exciting potential and to prosper, the entrepreneurial mindset must rise.

…FOR SOUTH AFRICA TO BEGIN TO FULFIL ITS EXCITING POTENTIAL AND TO PROSPER, THE ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET MUST RISE….

What is an entrepreneurial mindset?

We believe that being able to recognise opportunities and creatively generate new ideas (Intellectual Imagination), having a bias for action (Personal Initiative), focusing on the future and being self-efficient (Spirit of Significance), having resilience and accepting risk (Courageous Commitment) and possessing the motivation and desire to achieve (Achievement Excellence) are all critical to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Not only do we select for these qualities, but our programmes are designed to develop them further. This is demonstrated by the achievements of our beneficiaries in 2016. These attributes add up to an entrepreneurial mindset.

In their bestselling book ‘Put Your Mindset to Work’, James Reed and Paul Stoltz describe mindset as what you see, think and believe. Each person’s unique mindset is coloured by life experience, personal traits and education, and can thus be developed. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, goes further by describing the difference between fixed and growth mindsets. People with a fixed mindset believe that their capacity and ability are static. Since they believe they are limited, they tend to give up easily when they face a challenge that they don’t have the immediate ability to conquer. A growth mindset, on the other hand, is rooted in the belief that capacity and ability can be developed, challenges must be embraced with innovative solutions and that criticism is a learning opportunity. Since they believe that they can grow, they tend to be more persistent.

The Foundation’s programme and curriculum are focused on providing structure and opportunity for all our beneficiaries to engage in the deliberate practice and hard work that we believe will lead to the development of an entrepreneurial mindset.

Summary of the achievements of Foundation beneficiaries in 2016

Over 50 Allan Gray Scholars doing their high school education were elected to leadership positions, including as prefects. Two Scholars were appointed as Deputy Head students of their respective schools, Bishops Diocesan College and St. Cyprians, while another represented SA Schools in the World Knowledge Forum in Japan.

Nine Candidate Fellows became members of the Golden Key Honours Society. One Candidate Fellow started a home security app called Jonga, which achieved third place at the Global Social Venture Competition. Another Candidate Fellow attended the One Young World Conference in Ottawa, Canada and one was head of the University of Cape Town’s delegation to the Model United Nations in Rome. Another seven Candidate Fellows were awarded Mandela Rhodes Scholarships at the end of the year.

This year the Association of Allan Gray Fellows, in collaboration with our empowerment partner E2, launched an accelerator programme for Fellow-led start-up businesses. The accelerator took the form of a three-month programme of intensive work to prepare start-ups to pitch to investors, culminating in a Demo Day at the end of November 2016, where the businesses presented to a carefully selected audience of stakeholders.

2016 Foundation selection

Allan Gray Fellowship

Our university Fellowship continues to excite and draw applicants from all provinces in South Africa, and we seek to select those with the greatest potential to become high-impact, responsible entrepreneurs. Only 6% of those who applied for the Fellowship opportunity were selected, as shown in Table 1.

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Allan Gray Scholarship

This year 30 Grade 7 candidates were selected for an Allan Gray Scholarship for high school, as shown in Table 2. A further 10 scholarships will be funded by our partner, the Standard Bank Tutuwa initiative.

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Through our candidate Fellows and our work in education, the Foundation finds itself currently in the midst of the student struggles. The issues we need to resolve are challenging. Like many other institutions involved in education in South Africa, we find ourselves needing to exercise our own entrepreneurial mindset. These are uncomfortable times, but we are being pushed to lift our game as an institution and to think hard about how we add value. Our commitment remains unwavering to seeing an equitable, entrepreneurial South Africa that is flourishing with meaningful employment.

Watch our Ventures process below:

 

Businesses started by Fellows who participated in the Accelerator Programme: 

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Interested learners can find more information about the Scholarship and Fellowship opportunities at: www.allangrayorbis.org

Deadlines for applications for Fellowship opportunities, to study at university, are 12 May 2017 for Grade 12 learners and 18 August 2017 for first and second year university students. Grade 6 learners must apply for a Scholarship opportunity, for their high school education, by 29 September 2017.

Shifting Entrepreneurship from the Perimeter to the Core | By Gary Schoeniger

Shifting Entrepreneurship from the Perimeter to the Core | By Gary Schoeniger

Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 4.17.05 PMEntrepreneurship has never been more important than it is today. Academic, business, government, and nonprofit leaders around the world have begun to recognize entrepreneurship education as essential for creating the societies of the future. Among the most vocal is the World Economic Forum (WEF). In one report, they cite the need to embed entrepreneurship at all levels of education, emphasizing that “[i]t is not enough to add entrepreneurship on the perimeter – it needs to be at the core of the way education operates.” WEF further states that it is “a process that will require new teaching methods, new frameworks, and new models.”

And yet, while entrepreneurship education initiatives have exploded within colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations worldwide, our understanding of entrepreneurship remains limited and narrowly defined. As a result, much of these efforts have yielded limited results. In fact, a recent report published by the Kauffman Foundation declared that “[t]he traditional methods of encouraging entrepreneurship are not producing desired results and should be replaced with methods that are more likely to gain traction.”

If we are to infuse entrepreneurship into the core of our systems of education, we need to focus on the five key concepts – the five E’s of entrepreneurship education:

1. Expand the definition. If we are to integrate entrepreneurship into the core of our educational systems, we must begin by re-defining the term in a way that is accessible to all, regardless of their circumstances, interests, or chosen path.

Entrepreneurship at its core is a process of discovery – the search for the intersection between our own interests and abilities and the needs of our fellow humans. It does not require, big ideas, venture capital, a unique personality, or an Ivy League MBA. It simply requires discovery skills – skills that anyone can learn to develop, yet skills that our system of education have historically undervalued, overlooked or ignored.

Too often, entrepreneurship education initiatives are over-influenced by Silicon Valley success stories or reality television shows that encourage students to come up with big ideas, write business plans, and pursue venture capital investment. While these stories may captivate our imagination, they are by far the exception and do not reflect the bootson-the-ground reality of most successful entrepreneurs. By continuously promoting these narrowly defined models, we may be unwittingly alienating the vast majority of our students population, not to mention faculty.

2. Explore the mindset. In order to truly understand the “how” of entrepreneurship, it is essential to look beneath the surface to examine the “why”. What are the underlying beliefs, assumptions, and expectations that drive entrepreneurial behavior? And what are the social, factors that either encourage or inhibit the development of entrepreneurial attitudes, behaviors, and skills?

If we are to infuse entrepreneurial thinking throughout the curriculum, we must recognize that not all students have a desire to start a business, yet as humans we are all driven by an innate need for autonomy, mastery, and purpose. That is to say, we all have a strong desire to be entrepreneur-ial – to be engaged in work that matters, to have agency and a voice, and to have the opportunity to apply our strengths to something greater than ourselves. And when given the chance to do so, we are much more likely to become engaged in our work, to recognize the value of education, to persist, and ultimately to thrive.

3. Engage our students. We need to do a better job of connecting learning experiences to our student’s individual hopes and dreams. For some, hope may be seen as a touchy-feely concept that is easy to overlook within an academic context. Yet a growing body of research indicates that hope uniquely predicts objective academic achievement above intelligence, personality, and previous academic achievement. In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

4. Embrace entrepreneurial learning. Entrepreneurial learning can be transformative, challenging students to re-imagine themselves and the world around them in ways that lead to positive lasting change. If we are to embed entrepreneurship at all levels of education, we must embrace experiential, problem-based learning. We must provide all students with opportunities to develop the skills necessary to identify and solve real world problems within resource constrained circumstances where the rules are unknown, no one is in charge, and no one is coming to the rescue. It is only through this process in these circumstances, that we can truly develop self-reliance and resourcefulness, creativity and critical thinking, effective communication, teamwork, and other entrepreneurial skills.

As Google’s Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap put it, “stop asking students what they want to be when they grow up and start asking them what problems they want to solve and what they need to learn in order to solve those problems.”

5. Examine ourselves. In the past we created innovators and entrepreneurs by accident rather than by design. If we are to fully embrace entrepreneurial education we must also look within. We must re-examine our own deeply held, taken-for-granted beliefs and assumptions that may no longer be effective. We must embrace new methods, new frameworks, and new models that encourage all students to be innovative and entrepreneurial regardless of their chosen path. We must also recognize the power of system structure to shape behavior.

As the American Theologian Richard Shaull once wrote – “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

If we are to shift entrepreneurship from the perimeter to the core of the way education operates, we must recognize the transformative power of entrepreneurship education as a means to empower ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things, thus enabling them to participate in the transformation of their world.

Entrepreneurship Calendar – 2017 | By Fredell Jacobs

Entrepreneurship Calendar – 2017 | By Fredell Jacobs

The world marched into 2017 with a hastag that most can only comprehend as #IsThisReallyHappening? as 2016 was trending out of #Brexit and was greeted by the overnight surprise of #Trump. The Davos meeting used the theme Responsive and Responsible Leadership to inject some calm amidst the chaos while most of the entrepreneurs in attendance focused on how to take advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution. It was also evident that the world is looking to entrepreneurs and innovation from human capital to help restore economic growth, reduce extreme poverty and inequality. This year then presents an exciting journey for entrepreneurship capacity development and South Africa will take centre stage in the very first quarter.

The local entrepreneurial ecosystem is buzzing with excitement as the headlines are clearing up from #Gupta stories and making way for the events that are attracting global audiences. Our very own State of the Nation Address (SONA) requires entrepreneurs to pay attention as the President will offer some hints about what to expect from government and the policy environment. SONA is in the very same week as The Mining Indaba and the trickle-down impact of these engagements can serve a healthy dose of growth for SME’s with the right offering. The Budget Speech is hot on the heels of SONA and this is where most businesses take their cue on how to plan for accommodating payroll and tax adjustments covering PAYE, UIF and VAT. This year’s budget will not only have us hold our breath when the Minister gets to the sin-tax part of his speech, but also when the rating agencies give their verdict when they mark our fiscal report card.

March is the month of great excitement for the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. The largest global entrepreneurship gathering is making its African debut with many highlights including a Ministerial Panel and an address by the Deputy President of South Africa. The Global Entrepreneurship Congress attracts more than 5000 delegates from over 160 countries and kicks off in Johannesburg on 13 – 16 March. The GEC is followed by the GEC+ on 17th & 18th March in Cape Town hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network (GERN) Annual General Meeting and public dialogue sessions under the theme “Entrepreneurial Mindset in Action”. The Foundation is heavily invested in both these gatherings and will contribute towards a variety of topics on the GEC2017 Agenda while it serves as the official host of the GEC+.

The Seedstars Summit on 6th April in Lausanne Switzerland will bring together entrepreneurs representing startups from over 70+ emerging markets. This summit will focus on entrepreneurship and innovation in emerging markets with the aim to strengthen collaboration and relationships with established ecosystems to broaden and deepen our common understanding of entrepreneurship capacity development.

In May Africa takes centre stage at WEF Africa when global leaders will descend on Durban. The Africa agenda will accommodate topics on divergence, diversification, human capital and innovation to take advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution while at the same time challenges such as youth unemployment, climate change, low growth and extreme poverty will not escape attention. In the same month Get in The Ring will host its global conference in Singapore expecting more than 150 startups from over 100 countries competing for top honours in the ring!

The second half of the year gets momentum as we hit Spring time in South Africa with the SA Innovation Summit in the beginning of September. Later that month the ANDE Global Conference ,which always attracts leading contributors in the entrepreneurship capacity development arena, will cover the impact investing landscape in emerging markets and share the highlights from their State of the Small and Growing Businesses (SGB’s).

In November the Creative Business Cup allows us to experience the bridge and growing connection between entrepreneurship and the creative industries and is always one of the highlights during Global Entrepreneurship Week. GEW builds on a network of over 20 000 partners in more than 160 countries with 35 000 events reaching 10m people in one week to create and stimulate entrepreneurship awareness in all levels of society.

The Entrepreneurship Calendar for 2017 is jam-packed with exceptional gatherings that attracts the best and brightest in the ecosystem. The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is proud to be part of these conversations and always excited to make a contribution. This is how we live Entrepreneurial mindset in action!