Selecting for Entrepreneurial Success – an insight into the Foundation’s selection process | Allan Gray Orbis Foundation
Selecting for Entrepreneurial Success – an insight into the Foundation’s selection process

Selecting for Entrepreneurial Success – an insight into the Foundation’s selection process


2012 Fellowship Selection Camp
2012 Fellowship Selection Camp

In 2012, the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation initiated a process to formalise its selection processes for Scholarship Selection at Grade 6 (Allan Gray Scholars) and Fellowship Selection at Grade 12 and first year university (Candidate Allan Gray Fellows). This led to the creation of so called “Success Profiles” that captured the selection requirements at each stage of the Foundation entrepreneurial development pipeline, culminating in the development of a Success Profile or Profiles of a High Impact Responsible Entrepreneur as described by the Foundation.

“A principled individual who creates and / or personally owns all or part of an enterprise that offers a product, service or business model that is highly innovative, differentiated, and scalable which results in adding substantial economic value through offering the public great value for money and in doing so, results in the creation of meaningful jobs, profitable enterprise and stakeholder value.”

The Success Profile methodology provides a framework through which an applicant can be considered from a holistic perspective. Taking a holistic approach to assessing an individual is the best means of predicting future performance

The Success Profiles developed and created by the Foundation capture the combination of knowledge, experience, competencies, performance standards, personal attributes and measures for potential that describe the targeted and articulated set of expectations for Scholars, Candidate Fellows and Fellows. This will enable the Foundation to align its selection and development programmes.

Success Profile Objectives

The Success Profile methodology has three main objectives: 1) To develop and validate a beneficiary Success profile and validate the Foundation’s beneficiary success benchmarks at Scholars, Candidate Fellows and Fellows, 2) To align the Selection benchmarks of the targeted beneficiaries to the expected future performance and 3) To review the current beneficiary development programme and its implementation in relation to the Selection benchmarks and Success Profiles.

Success Profile Methodology

The Success Profile Methodology is supported by research which shows that taking a holistic approach to assessing an individual is the best means of predicting future performance. Traditionally, organisations mainly focus on competencies, experience and technical skills when selecting for specific roles and do not include areas such as values, interests, personality and emotional maturity. Taking this holistic approach to assessing an individual is therefore a much more valid and reliable method of predicting future performance.

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The specific methodology followed in reviewing and refining the criteria specified for each dimension of the Success Profile can be summarised as follows:

  1. Start with the end in Mind. Clearly define the Success Profile for a High Impact Entrepreneur
  2. Separate long term performance drivers from short term performance drivers.Short term performance was defined as successful completion of the programme and long term realising the vision of High Impact Entrepreneurship.
  3. Separate trainable and non-trainable components

In applying the approach as described above, it was imperative to the success of the overall programme to clearly define the profile of a High Impact Entrepreneur as it becomes impossible to identify markers for long term performance without a profile to which it is linked.

Since adopting the Success profile Methodology in 2012, a number of changes and refinements have been implemented across the Foundation’s three primary programmes, such as the refinement of the application form scoring criteria, the development of parallel assessment activities across selection phases, and incorporation of new psychometric tests for measurement.

All this work has resulted in the Foundation having the following seven Success profiles:

  1. Scholarship Selection at Grade 6,
  2. Candidate Fellows Selection at Grade 12 and 1st Year University,
  3. Acceptance into the Fellowship at Admissions into the Association,
  4. High Impact Entrepreneur profile 1 – Conceptualisation of Ideas,
  5. High Impact Entrepreneur profile 2 – Securing Capital and entering the market through a start-up,
  6. High Impact Entrepreneur profile 3 – Managing the stress of Organisational Growth, and
  7. High Impact Entrepreneur profile 4 – The Conductor / Architect who can orchestrate profile 1 to 3.

This has certainly set a solid foundation in terms of Success Profile methodology, however, this approach requires continual refinement and improvement in order for the Foundation to remain cutting edge. Future projects involving the Success Profile Methodology includes a review and critical analysis of all the Success Profiles adopted, reviewing the comprehensiveness of the three programmatic Success Profiles against the desired outcomes specified for both short term and long term performance, reviewing the degree of alignment between the three programmatic Success Profiles, ensuring that all criteria specified meets best practice guidelines and finally to ensure that all criteria specified is research based.

By Carl Herman

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