St Stithians Boys’ College in Gauteng is doing its bit to provide SA with a future crop of small to medium sized business owners.
“The results of St Stithians’ Business Incubator Programme, which we launched in May this year, have shown that young scholars-turned-entrepreneurs have the ability to deal with the reality of starting a small business in South Africa,” says Ryan Wiesner, head of the college’s Business Studies Department, who introduced the project to give practical impetus to the learners’ studies.
“The boys were required to develop entrepreneurial ideas and then create, register and run actual companies. Through this process, they came to appreciate the need to carefully select partners, write and develop business plans, and deal with all the administrative functions required to run a business. This included opening and administering a bank account, and performing accounting and payroll functions.”
The opportunity to start their own businesses has been taken seriously by the boys who have learned several lessons on their journey. These include:
- The need to allow enough time for the process of registering a business to be completed
- Coming to terms with the fact that running your own business means putting in more than just lesson time at school, but requires dedication during weekends and school holiday time
- That a business plan is an essential blueprint required to evaluate and plot your way forward
- Keeping track of cash flowing into and out of the business must be mastered if a business is to succeed.
“The boys have learned valuable life lessons. They now understand the challenges facing entrepreneurs in South Africa. They have an appreciation of the dedication required to develop a business and be your own boss. Above all, they have come to appreciate the role that SME owners play as a major driver of the economy and how they create more jobs than the corporate sector,” says Wiesner.