There was a sense of pride and excitement when Intsebenziswano High School in Philippi received a cheque worth R50 000 for winning the provincial leg of the Education with Enterprise Trust (EWET) school competition last Friday.
The competition was held in Johannesburg last year and the school was pitted against other schools in the Western Cape.
The schools were recognised for their business initiatives.
Among the other winners in the province were Sinethemba High School, in Philippi, who came in second place and walked away with R25 000, and Injongo Primary School, in Khayelitsha, who were the first runners up, taking away R10 000.
Representatives from Eskom, the provincial Department of Education, school principals and local business people gathered at the school to attend the ceremony.
Under the theme, “Building a culture of entrepreneurship within South African schools – one school at a time”, the trust wants to inspire pupils to be business minded.
Principal Moipone Sam said if they really wanted to prepare pupils to be successful in a 21 century global economy, they needed to start teaching them about entrepreneurship.
Ms Sam said she strongly believes that entrepreneurship must be introduced at the earliest Grade possible.
She said the current generation lives in an uncertain world, so the need skills that will help them make wise life and career choices.
She said the future belongs to the innovators and creators and entrepreneurship serves as a great incubator for them.
A representative of the Department of Education, Venter Antoinette, said such programmes encourage pupils to consider establishing their own businesses as a viable career option of choice rather than a necessity.
Ms Antoinette said entrepreneurship unleashes creativity and allows pupils to develop business ideas and make a change.
Teacher at Intsebenziswano High School, Misiwe Matete Thungela said she was excited about the pupils’ achievement and the fact that she was leading the programme.
Eskom representative, Trish Da Silva, said the example that these pupils have set for their peers in choosing to channel their energies into such remarkable initiatives should be commended.
Ms Da Silva said these days young people, particularly in urban communities, face a myriad potential pitfalls that lead to anti-social behaviours such as gangsterism, drug abuse and crime.
However, she said it was critical that schools offered sustainable and challenging opportunities to engage pupils in positive activities.
She believes such activities instil values, skills and life lessons that will stand them in good stead as they grow and develop into young and ambitious adults.
Ms Da Silva said the Eskom Development Foundation has a strong vested interest in the establishment and growth of small and emerging enterprises.
Through such efforts, she said they wanted to make a meaningful and sustainable contribution to the social and economic development of the country.
“We are committed to South Africa’s knowledge economy, through innovation, skills transfer and knowledge sharing. The work of the foundation is focused on building a healthy, educated and skilled population that is positive about the future of our country and empowered to lead a life they can truly value.
“Against the backdrop of rising unemployment and poverty levels, there is hardly a better way to achieve these objectives than by investing in entrepreneurship education and providing support to young people who want to be job creators in their communities, “ she said.
Ms Da Silva told the pupils that they were the business owners of the future and as the foundation, they wanted to be by their side as they grow from strength to strength.