Setting up a business at school is the best way to equip young people with the skills they will need to succeed in work and in life. Whilst the road to entrepreneurial success can be very rewarding it is by no means an easy one.
Luckily, schools taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge are not expected to go it alone! They are given access to their very own business mentor who they communicate with on WhatsApp.
In this article, one of our superstar mentors from our corporate partners Czarnikow, tells us about the time she got to visit a school taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge in her home country of South Africa.
Belinda, tell us a little bit about your visit to LIV school in Durban, South Africa
When I went back home to South Africa in July this year I was lucky to visit LIV School in Durban who have been taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge since 2015. When I arrived I was greeted by the business team who introduced me to their biltong making business (biltong is a dried, cured meat snack that is very popular in South Africa). They gave a presentation on what their business does and what goes on behind the scenes: how they raised their start-up capital by selling keyrings and taking out a small loan, each member’s role in the business, their marketing techniques, etc…
The LIV business team have created their own handy guide on how to make biltong. It includes everything you need to know about biltong: its origins, how to make it and most importantly, how to monetise it! Could your school create something similar to support new schools taking part in the programme?
I was so impressed by the detail with which these young students were able to describe their business. They told me how they all look forward to the time in their school day when they are running the school business and how the activities in the resources provided by Teach A Man To Fish have enabled them to develop exciting new business skills. One student explained to me that they now feel they can think outside of the box: ‘I don’t have to worry about who I will work for after school as I can set up my own business!’
How has seeing this school business in action impacted you as a mentor in the School Enterprise Challenge?
Firstly, it reinforced my belief that this kind of education is important, especially in a country like South Africa where job opportunities are few and youth unemployment is a big problem.
Secondly, it made me realise that my most important role as a mentor is to provide ongoing support and encouragement rather than thinking I am responsible for making their businesses successful and telling them how to surpass all of their challenges. Mentors should be sounding boards for ideas and encourage creative solutions. Now, if a school comes to me with a problem, I will help them to find their own answers because that’s how they will learn and get the most out of the experience!
Czarnikow are generous supporters of Teach A Man To Fish. This year, more than 20 of their staff are each mentoring online a group of schools taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge.
Is your organisation interested in corporate sponsorship or mentoring opportunities? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you want to plan and set up a student-led business at your school? Registration to the School Enterprise Challenge is completely FREE and NOW OPEN on our website. Click here to find out more and register.