The inaugural Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge (AGEC) which was conceptualised to creatively coach high school learners to think entrepreneurially has been lauded a “huge success” and proves that web-based, experiential learning is an effective way to foster a culture of entrepreneurship among South Africa’s youth.
According to Anthony Selley, Head of Game Play at the Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge, one hundred schools from around the country participated in the six-week inaugural challenge, which ran from the 14 August to 22 September.
The challenge used digital learning to nurture an entrepreneurial mindset among Grades 8-11, and to educate them on how best to act and think like entrepreneurs. Teachers and parents who support the spirit of entrepreneurship among kids were also encouraged to sign-up and participate. A total of 100 schools, 4 500 pupils and 300 teachers participated.
“We are enormously encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by both learners and teachers. To have participation from schools representing a wide spectrum of socio-economic and geographic situations in our inaugural year justifies our belief that web-based learning offers an effective way to grow entrepreneurial learning for teenagers from all walks of life,” Selley says.
The entrepreneurship challenge comprised a series of micro-challenges measured on a points system. Selley explains that more complex challenges were worth more points, but to reach the difficult phases, candidates needed to pass the easy ones first. Each week candidates logged onto the Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge website to complete a series of micro challenges, which took between 15 minutes to an hour to complete.
During each challenge, participants were exposed to a range of mindsets, habits and concepts for entrepreneurs, as well to some of the latest tech developments on platforms like Blockchain, Digital Biology, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and 3D Printing. He says some challenges were theoretically based, others were practically based and some involved uploading images.
“The success of the challenge demonstrates that our youth see the great value that lies in entrepreneurship, especially as a vehicle for change for our country,” Selley says.
The Western Cape is the top performing province in the challenge, with nine candidates in the overall top 20, followed by Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal with five candidates respectively. An honorary award was also presented to the top candidate from Swaziland.
The top 20 participants were honoured at a prestigious awards ceremony at the weekend.
The top five candidates include:
- 1st place – Kai Parsons, Cedar House School
- 2nd place – Tim Vermeulen, Bridge House School
- 3rd place – Bocasho Braaf, Bridge House School
- 4th place – Maria Lichtenberg, Reddam House Constantia
- 5th place – Sabrina Isaac, Durban Girls High School.
For the Top 20 winners, click here for the details.
“We are immensely proud of every participant; the level of skill they’ve shown during the challenge is admirable. The success of this initiative means we are already starting to work on next year’s Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge and we look forward to rolling-out a bigger and better one in 2018,” Selley says