To foster an entrepreneurial spirit among their learners, Curro held the final round of their inaugural national interschool Entrepreneurship Competition in Kempton Park this week.
The purpose of the competition was to provide learners with an opportunity to express their innovative and creative thoughts to a panel of carefully curated external judges. After a gruelling day of presentations mixed with nerves, high hopes and rollercoaster confidence, Curro Aurora’s team Grassroots iKhusi Project came out tops.
This winning initiative, an enterprise fashioned by four grade 11 Curro Aurora learners is an organisation which aims to partner with local businesses’ CSR initiatives to deliver sleeping bags made from recycled material to the homeless and poor.
The nature and strength of the business plan, along with a colourfully warm prototype, caught the eyes of the judges who unanimously voted Grassroots iKhusi Project a win.
Commenting on their impressive business idea, Alta Greeff, Research, Development and Innovation Head at Curro Holdings says “the notion of giving back demonstrates an ability to look past the profit margin and strive to make one’s community stronger”.
Entrepreneurs such as Tokyo Sexwale and Elon Musk were not discovered overnight, but rather forged like diamonds over time.
As such, it’s important to identify and nurture an entrepreneurial drive among our children from an early age, especially if one hopes to create the next generation of South Africa’s top business people.
Aiming to both imbue its young learners with an understanding of business, as well as to instil a desire to start their own new venture, the competition saw seven finalist teams contending for the winning business plan.
Equipped with vast entrepreneurial knowledge, each judge was selected according to a wealth of specific industry experience ranging from property and publishing, to finance and SMEs.
The finalist panel included an impressive team of business critics: Mlamuli Mbambo, owner of Mali Properties and co-founder of Ibutho Group; Dr Ria de Villiers, managing director of Jika Communications & Training; Erin Richards, co-founder of TalkUBUNTU; and Vincent Bartes from Business Partners Ltd.
Alongside adjudicating the competition, Bartes will also be mentoring the winning team, as they attempt to move from business plan to real world practice.
The runner-up team delivered an equally impressive business strategy in the financial arena. Invest In Me, a team from Curro Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, won appreciation though its digital concept to create a local crowdfunding site for South African businesses, something which was has been sorely lacking given crowdfunding’s rise to prominence in recent years.
In an attempt to surface their learners’ hidden entrepreneurial agendas, Curro commenced with the regional preliminary rounds of the competition in September which were held in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
From here, seven teams (grades 9 to 11) were identified from across the country. In total, 164 learners from 19 different Curro schools participated in the competition.
“Along with the prospect of encouraging young learners to think like entrepreneurs, Curro believes this competition awakens other critical life skills that a classroom cannot always unlock,” Greeff comments.
Examples of these crucial skills include curiosity, self-confidence and a desire to give back to the community – values that align with Curro’s principles.