Nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship at a grass-roots level among the country’s youth is necessary to reduce South Africa’s young jobless army and to break the cycle of poverty in the country.
“Entrepreneurship has the potential to lift South Africa from the clutches of joblessness and it starts with our youth. Considering the upsurge in technology around the world, which has changed the way we do almost everything, including the way we learn, why not make good use of it to grow and advance young entrepreneurs? In this way we remain relevant and in-turn keep up with the demands of a modern, tech-savvy world,” says Anthony Selley, Head of Gameplay at the Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge (AGEC) – an initiative that uses gamification to grow entrepreneurial mindsets among high school children.
AGEC uses digital learning to instil a culture of entrepreneurship in the minds of grades 8-12 learners and educates them on how best to act and think like entrepreneurs. The Challenge seeks to broaden the understanding of entrepreneurship amongst youth and highlights opportunities they can explore.
The Challenge was established by long-term investment company Allan Gray and the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation – an organisation committed to investing in the education and development of individuals with entrepreneurial potential in Southern Africa. Since its inception 10-years ago, the Foundation has dedicated much of its research to identifying the mindsets that make a successful entrepreneur.
Their findings have been incorporated into AGEC and include:
- Creativity – coming up with good ideas and implementing them
- Action orientation – setting goals, pursuing goals and monitoring the execution
- Resilience – bouncing back from adversity and conflict and increasing responsibility
- Self-efficacy – believing in your ability to successfully accomplish a specific task
- Need for achievement – pursuing challenging goals, taking risks, accepting responsibility and demanding feedback
- Locus of control – handling and attributing control over events to themselves or other non-controllable factors
“Nurturing these essential entrepreneurial characteristics will set our would-be entrepreneurs on the right path. I’ve always believed that entrepreneurship can help us turn things around in South Africa. But our overall approach needs to undergo a complete transformation first; we need to start exposing our children to entrepreneurship from an early age to nurture these mindsets. Similarly, the right role models are important to grow and develop the thousands of talented young minds we have in SA,” he says.
Currently in its second year, the six-week challenge, available on mobile and web app kicks-off on 1 August 2018 and runs till 12 September 2018. For the duration of the Challenge, AGEC will introduce new themes each week driven by a set of micro-challenges, and learner performance is measured on a points system. The Challenge uses gamification to educate learners on how best to think and act like entrepreneurs.
Participants will be exposed to a range of mindsets, habits and concepts for entrepreneurs, as well to some of the latest tech developments. This process allows learners to re-imagine themselves and the world around them through experiential, problem-solving learning. Selley says this year’s Challenge will be assessed using rubric-driven peer reviews conducted by participating students, moderated by teachers and fed into the scoring system. The accumulated points place the learner, their class and their school on a series of live leader boards.
To-date, more than 400 schools from around the country have already confirmed entry and over 15 000 learner participants are expected.
“AGEC gives aspiring entrepreneurs the head-start they need to start their entrepreneurial journey and to become the masters of a sustainable future,” he says.
Learner registration is officially open. For more information on how to enter, visitwww.entrepreneurshipchallenge.co.za. Entry is free and open to all learners and schools across the country.