In a first for South Africa, St Stithians Boys’ College has commenced a 10-week programme for Grade 10 Business Studies learners that will see them formally register and operate real businesses, from the creation of business plans through funding, staffing, marketing and trading.
The programme will be taught for four hours a week during class time. Technically, it forms part of the existing Business Studies curriculum but, because real companies are being created, it goes substantially beyond requirements.
Learners will work in teams of three and will be guided through the entire process of starting and running a company by industry experts. The programme is co-sponsored by Sage Pastel and Standard Bank.
Creating a firm foundation for entrepreneurship
Sage Pastel MD Steven Cohen said he understood the challenges faced by entrepreneurs. “Small business owners need as much support as possible. Basic business knowledge is not always part of an entrepreneur’s skill set and this programme will provide that insight and support. Teaching future entrepreneurs how to use these tools is the greatest gift we can give them.”
The initiative of Ryan Wiesner, head of the college’s Business Studies Department, aims to bring the real world into the classroom. “Increasingly, South Africans will have to create their own jobs and entrepreneurial skills are vital.
Few teenagers have access to this kind of learning and I believe that it offers the most important life skill they will learn at school. Even at university, students are taught each specialisation in isolation and they’re not equipped to tie every aspect of a business together as an entrepreneur has to.”