“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
South Africans need to leave behind their sense of entitlement and take ownership for the development of our country. The Association of Allan Gray Fellows is an active community of graduated Fellows which strive to be the entrepreneurial leaders our country needs.
Two portfolios were created by the Association for this purpose: Leadership and Startership. Leadership assists in accelerating Fellows’ trajectory in their current environments, whilst Startership seeks to support Fellows as they move into entrepreneurship.
The Leadership Portfolio of the Association of Allan Gray Fellows hosted its inaugural Leadership Seminar on Saturday 23rd June 2012 in Johannesburg, with the theme being: “A New Paradigm in Leadership”. The purpose of the seminar was to share the Fellows’ journeys with one another, whilst challenging traditional and previous definitions of leadership. The innovative nature of the seminar was expressed through the choice of unconventional venues for the event, including Sci Bono, the Maboneng District and South Point’s rooftop. Jonathan Liebmann, the man behind the Maboneng Precinct who is acknowledged as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper for his success in regenerating the inner city and driving development, gave the Fellows a historical tour of the area whilst sharing advice for budding young entrepreneurial leaders. Zayne Imam (Class of 2010), Sivu Mzamo (Class of 2009), Allan Craig Knott Jr. and Philippa Wheaton were the headline speakers on the day of the seminar, sharing their honest accounts of their own personal journeys into leadership.
On the 6th of October 2012, the first Startership Seminar was held. Following three master-classes on entrepreneurial attitude, ideation and skills, teams of Fellows participated in the Startership Challenge. The challenge was to develop a financially sustainable social business that would address a real issue within the education system.
Two teams were selected to pitch their concepts on the 27th of October 2012 at the E2 Seminar- a venture capital fund established by Allan Gray to invest in businesses led by Allan Gray Fellows. Both teams pitched at the E2 event with the intention of establishing a relationship with potential future financiers of their ideas.
Eduvator was awarded a prize of R25 000 which would be used to establish a social enterprise that makes use of emotive multi-media and crowd sourcing techniques to fund improvements to the basic requirements in the education system. The team shared their first target project, which is to provide chairs and desks to schools in the Eastern Cape where children currently make use of mielie-meal sacks, bricks and beer crates as furniture.
These steps undertaken by the Leadership and Startership portfolios mark the start of what we believe will become a powerful community of high-impact entrepreneurs at the forefront of our continent’s development.