Usasazo High School pupils in Khayelitsha were crowned the winners of the Schools Entrepreneurship Education Competition, held in Johannesburg last week.
The school walked away with R100 000 after defeating schools across the country who had entered the competition.
The competition was spearheaded by Education With Enterprise Trust (EWET) with the hope of devoting special attention to entrepreneurship development within schools in the country.
The theme of the competition is to create a culture of entrepreneurship within South African schools – one school at a time.
On Thursday February 28, various dignitaries and officials from the provincial Department of Education gathered at the school to celebrate with the pupils, parents and staff and receive the cheque. EWET programme leader, Tshidi Sekopa, said the trust aims to instil an entrepreneurship spirit among the youth while urging them to become entrepreneurs in the future. She said through the competition they want to introduce the benefits of entrepreneurship to the youth and sharpen their mindset.
She said that entrepreneurship is a critical skill and useful in both personal and social aspects of everyday life.
Ms Sekopa said entrepreneurial pupils make things happen for themselves by accepting responsibility while non-entrepreneurial pupils tend to wait for government or somebody else to deliver. She explained that the programme aims to assist the pupils to be able to sense an opportunity – while non-entrepreneurial pupils see confusion, chaos and contradictions.
Ms Sekopa said some of the principles of the competition states that effective entrepreneurship education promotes entrepreneurship as a career choice among all the pupils of a school.
She also said entrepreneurship education links in-school curriculum work with extramural activities where pupils were able to apply and practice the theory through practical activities.
However, she said the involvement of parents, community members and business people as stakeholders in the development of the pupils in pursuit of the creation of a culture of entrepreneurship was critical.
“We want the pupils to make wise and well-informed life choices.
“The intent is for pupils to become creators of jobs rather than job seekers. We believe that in school it is more pro-active in that it prepares pupils early on for life after school.
“It is about the creation of entrepreneurial intent,” she said.
MEC for Education, Debbie Schäfer, said youth employment was one of the biggest issues facing the country and she was a firm believer in entrepreneurship and cultivating entrepreneurs to grow the economy.
She said as the government they need to encourage entrepreneurship, and organisations and competitions such as this improve the government’s capacity to provide such training and creating exposure to these opportunities.
Ms Schäfer said in education they were responsible for preparing the youth to build successful lives and become active citizens so that they could lead a dignified life.
But she said to do that they need to prepare them for the wide range of possibilities that lie ahead of them.
“Most schools teach business studies, business management or economics to pupils but the sad reality is that while this subject does indeed focus on the ins and outs of starting and managing a business, it does not teach our ambitious young pupils what it truly really means to be an entrepreneur. It does not teach them which of their personality traits and characteristics they should be aiming to hone in on, “ she said.
Principal, Patrick Barnes said they were excited about winning the competition. He said they first entered the competition in 2016 where they walked away with R25 000 as beginners. But he said in 2017 they came second nationally, walking away with R50 000.
Mr Barnes said last year they identified their mistakes and rectified them and entered the competition with a winning mentality.
He said it was important that they expose the children to a wide range of things so that they could grow as well. He believes that winning the competition indicates that the school is growing and improving.