As a Foundation it is sometimes difficult for people to understand exactly what it is that we do. When the vision describes developing future entrepreneurs, it is easy to then simply assume that we are in the “business” of providing entrepreneurial training in the usual entrepreneurial milieu i.e. business plan writing, pitching, how to develop a sound business model and so forth. All these are important skills which a would-be entrepreneur needs to acquire at some point in their entrepreneurial journey. However, our work is about starting at the stage before one even realises that you have the inner spirit of the entrepreneur. It starts at the point of where the entrepreneurial mindset is sparked.
The Fellowship journey begins through identifying and selecting those individuals who have the highest potential for entrepreneurship and fulfilling our shared vision at the outset of their university degree. It is a long-term journey culminating, we hope, with these individuals, in the coming years being responsible for bringing about economic and societal transformation for the Southern African region and by extension, Africa. But this long journey has to start somewhere and we have become convinced that the first steps need to be focused on developing the right entrepreneurial mindset. If we can get the thinking right then the action will follow.
Extensive works exists which argue both that entrepreneurship is either nature (entrepreneurs are born not created) or it can be nurtured (the requisite skills can be learnt). At the Foundation we believe that in the long-term, similar to the scientific method, the entrepreneurial method will one day see commonplace adoption throughout the education sector and consequently society. In a similar manner to science, everyone will receive a baseline of entrepreneurial mindset education, but this does not mean everyone will go on to become a rocket scientist or an entrepreneur, yet we all will have an introduction and common entrepreneurial understanding, just as we have an introduction and common understanding of science. Until entrepreneurial mindset reaches this level of society wide exposure, we remain focused on ensuring that the undergraduate Fellowship Community understands the adage that action follows thought, and remain committed primarily within the “thought” space at university i.e. ensuring that Candidate Allan Gray Fellows are exposed to the mindsets which will open up the possibility of entrepreneurship for them.
As part of exploring the Foundation’s Shape the Future selection campaign for this year, over the next few months I will be outlining our key entrepreneurial values (our 5 Pillars) which are a core part of the Foundation’s DNA as well as introducing some of the attitudes that underpin the mindsets of the respective pillars
The Foundation’s 5 Pillars are:
|Spirit of Significance||A weight of personality that comes from living a life personified by passion and integrity. Recognition that ultimate personal satisfaction comes from empowering oneself in order that one might be able to serve others.|
|Achievement Excellence||The on-going pursuit of excellence with a tangible and specific focus on setting goals. A motivation to make a difference and leave a mark. To be bold, not looking back, but pressing forward in the pursuit of one’s goals.|
|Intellectual Imagination||An enquiring and active mind demonstrated by an established record of intellectual achievement. An ability to see the unseen, challenges the status quo and suggest that things could be done differently to create new opportunities.|
|Personal Initiative||A person that makes things happen and celebrates the satisfaction of bringing new things into being. Independent, proactive and self starting. A person who is willing and able to make their own decisions.|
|Courageous Commitment||The courage and dedication to continue, realising that applying consistent commitment has a way of overcoming.|
To find out more about how our 5 Pillars help Allan Gray Fellows to Shape the Future visit Allan Gray Fellowship