The South African labour market remains vulnerable, particularly in the youth employment sector. While there is a call for more entrepreneurs, further support for SMME’s and increased youth employment by government, the youth of today lack the skills, knowledge and opportunities to answer to the call.
Riddled by poverty and unemployment, South Africa remains a country in crisis. With more than 3.3 million* unemployed youths, entrepreneurship has been highlighted to eradicate our unemployment woes; here’s the catch though: a recent study on education depicted the effect that poor education has had on entrepreneurs, who are largely ill-equipped to run their own businesses as a result. (Businesslive.co.za (2017)).
Getting youths to grips with entrepreneurship
By combining a background in education and entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial educationalist, speaker, radio presenter, mother of two and all-round go-getter, Lisa Illingworth co-founded Futureproof to educate youths from as young as primary school on real-life entrepreneurship.
As an ex-teacher, Lisa recognised a serious need for educating children on the practical application and art of entrepreneurship to create a generation of informed, thriving youths. “Young adults in the 21st century are entering the working world equipped with knowledge and skills that are irrelevant for the workplace,” explains Lisa.
Futureproof is built on an unwavering commitment to entrepreneurship as a mechanism for intervening in the poverty cycle that our youths are caught up in. “I don’t want to watch another generation driven by poor education standards, self-entitlement and helplessness”.
Lisa believes that entrepreneurs possess qualities that each of us can aspire to in order to take charge of our own futures: they identify a problem or a gap and create a service or a product to solve this problem and generate a flow of money. “Their tenacity is something that few can relate to. Entrepreneurs sacrifice short-term gain to deliver a long-term solution and derive an income from their efforts and passion. Nothing comes easy to an entrepreneur, so persistence is key” she emphasizes.
In a country where many simply admit defeat, Lisa and her team believes that possessing an entrepreneurial mindset can set our youths apart and accelerate them in the working world. “Futureproof exists with a massive transformative purpose to educate the future generation of entrepreneurs,” explains Lisa. “We aim to identify and grow the 5% of high impact entrepreneurs that will create the much-needed economic transformation that this country requires but organically, this process allows kids to learn how to create their own income opportunities” Lisa continues.
Futureproof – for purpose, for profit
Today, Futureproof is a “for purpose, for profit” business. We sacrifice neither. “This business is built on a model that was based on authentically practicing what we teach. Many social enterprises default to a charity and this business is unapologetically not a charity. We teach kids to build sustainable enterprises and we mirror this through the way we do business”.
Futureproof provides kids the opportunity to craft their own futures by applying the entrepreneurial skills gained in their real-life situations. “By instilling an entrepreneurial mindset, we look to cultivate a generation of hungry entrepreneurs who are able to identify and build-on opportunities. Our courses teach problem solving at the highest level to the youngest kids, and we have seen some amazing success stories come out of this in kids as young as eight years old”.
At its helm, Lisa says that Futureproof’s Board of Directors is made up of some of the country’s top business minds – a team driven by passion and purpose. “We attract incredible people in business and for this reason I am pleased to be surrounded by top women in their respective fields such as S’onqoba Maseko and Chairperson of our Board of Directors (previous head of innovation for FNB and now the COO of Future Nations Schools) and Masenyane Molefe – our Human Resources Specialist and HR Director of Hyundai South Africa.
For more information on Futureproof’s programmes and how to get involved, visit: www.futureproofsa.com