On Tuesday, I wrote about the organs of an Entrepreneurial culture, and the need to develop entrepreneurial mindsets from a very early age. Today I will contextualise the Entrepreneurship in Schools Initiative within the national macro strategy for Entrepreneurship in South Africa.
In 2011, former Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, together with the Human Resources Development Council of South Africa (HRDC SA) established nine task teams to address some of the main issues that South Africa is facing. One of these, was the Enabling Entrepreneurship Technical Task Team, which Dr. Taddy Blecher was asked to chair. The mandate of the task team was to develop a set of national recommendations to make South Africa more entrepreneurial and vastly reduce youth unemployment, which is the third highest in the world.
The Task Team is working across the entire ecosystem – from schools, universities and colleges, to the small business space – because enabling entrepreneurship requires a multi-pronged, multi-faceted strategy. Furthermore, to achieve maximum impact, all stakeholders, from the social, private and government sectors need to be involved and connected in their vision and strategic implementation.
The following interventions have been created, and are being continually revised, in order to develop South Africa into an entrepreneurial nation.
- Through the Department of Basic Education, Entrepreneurship is going to be implemented as a key mindset within each subject
- There is going to be significant focus (curricular and extra curricular) on developing entrepreneurial skills in learners through business clubs, competitions, entrepreneurial olympiads and entrepreneurial teachers’ awards
- The approach is to reach students and teachers through education technology in order to have maximum efficiency, reach, minimum cost, and undiluted impact. Specific tech-enabled solutions are also being developed for lower income schools with limited access to resources
- The aim is to generate excitement around Entrepreneurship among the youth, by including gamification and practical, hands-on learning
- Schools are going to be motivated to form partnerships with local businesses to bring industry into the classroom, thus making education more relevant to the world of work
- Partnerships between schools and businesses will result in entrepreneurs coming to talk to learners; workshops for teachers; learners and teachers doing mini internships at their local businesses
- A body (The Forum of Entrepreneurial Development Centres at Higher Education Institutions – FEDCI) has been established to develop entrepreneurial centres at each of the universities in South Africa, beginning with the University of Johannesburg
- The aim is to shift universities into innovation hubs and to incentivise practical research that leads to new patents and businesses being created
In the small business space:
- A National Virtual Incubator (NVI) – a ‘one-stop’ information portal for entrepreneurship and small business – has been created under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry. More tools for the National Virtual Incubator will continue to be developed.
- Through this NVI, already 65,000 free websites have been created;
- 500 000 Entrepreneurs have had access to free online MBA and BBA content through Regenesys Business School;
- Finfind will be launched in October 2015: a free access site that will revolutionise the finance readiness process for entrepreneurs, while connecting them to various lenders in the market;
- A National Mentorship Movement is being created to get 100 000 successful entrepreneurs to mentor 1 million businesses per year.
- The task team has also recommended that government create stimulatory policy for small businesses and to reduce red tape and unnecessary obstacles.
A country’s entrepreneurial activity is strongly correlated with increases in GDP, reduction in unemployment and reduction in poverty – particularly in South Africa, where over 70% of the formal sector is made up of small businesses (those that employ 50 people or fewer).
A nation’s entrepreneurial activity is directly related to the quality of education, as this leads to an increase in citizens’ perceived entrepreneurial capabilities and their ability to spot opportunities. Entrepreneurship education needs to go hand in hand with improvements in the fundamentals of education, particularly Literacy, Numeracy and the STEM subjects.
If we want to achieve different results in our education system, we need to start doing things differently: starting with approaching our education system with a creative, action orientated, problem-solving, socially conscious mindset – the mindset of an entrepreneur.