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Eskom’s Entrepreneurship Education Simama Ranta 2012.

The premier event in South Africa that recognizes and rewards best practice amongst secondary schools within the field of entrepreneurship is the “Eskom Entrepreneurship Education (EE) Simama Ranta.” With the youth being the hardest hit by unemployment, the competition is building a movement amongst schools who proactively prepare their learners to become creators of jobs rather than to be job seekers. This powerful mission is being captured within the name of the event “EE Simama Ranta”, which carries the meaning: “strengthening the South African economy through youth entrepreneurship.” An awards function of the 2012 event took place on 11 September at “The Castle” in Kayalami where the national winning school, “Sakhelwe High School” from Ladysmith in KwaZulu Natal was announced and received R25,000 to invest within their learner driven entrepreneurship clubs. “Eskom EE Simama Ranta” exhibitions by the nine provincial winning schools and entrepreneurship education workshops had been presented from 13 until 16 September 2012, as an integral part of the “Business Opportunities & Franchise Expo” at the Coca-Cola Dome. A teacher and two learners from each of the provincial winning schools, who had been Eskom guests for the week - engaged with around 3,000 visitors to their stalls over the four days. A just reward for the pioneering work of the schools had been the many new relationships with key decision makers that they established as a result of their exhibits. Eskom’s EE Simama Ranta pursues impact to address the challenge that South Africa has one of the lowest rates on entrepreneurship, within its population as compared to other developing countries (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor). This challenge, together with the World Bank’s finding that entrepreneurship represents one of the most effective ways to alleviate poverty - determines that “Simama Ranta” follows a systemic rather than an isolated interventionist driven approach. The foundation on which this event stands is based upon eleven principles. Entrants have to build evidence on the eleven principles throughout the year to enable them to enter, through a Portfolio of Evidence. Briefly, these eleven principles are: clear definition of entrepreneurship in use; relevant classroom content; facilitation approach; teacher development in EE; practical use of theory; stakeholder engagement; monitor and evaluate their efforts; learner driven; co-ownership within DoE; career options for entrepreneurs explored and; outreach as well as networking strategies applied. Entries for the 2013 event are now open until June next year. “Eskom’s EE Simama Ranta” took place for the first time in 2010. The Board of the Eskom Foundation decided to initiate this competition. The Foundation selected a Public Benefit Organisation, EWET (Education With Enterprise Trust) based in Harrismith, to partner with Eskom in the running of the competition. EWET was established in 1992 and piloted the Youth Enterprise Society (YES) program between 1994 and 1996. YES had been disseminated to 800 schools across South Africa through generous corporate social investment support from a range of

companies as well as through excellent collaboration with the Department of Education. EWET’s national footprint enables it to deliver its entrepreneurship education program that consist of in-school syllabi materials, YES clubs and Simama Ranta competitions (both for individual learners and for schools). A thorough external evaluation report published in 2008 confirmed the substance of EWET’s approach. It is from this national base that the provincial winning schools of “Eskom’s EE Simama Ranta 2010” evolved. However, the winning schools of 2012 had amongst them schools, who presented approaches and models that are unique to them. Something that excited the organizers! The implication is that South Africa is building its knowledge base as well as base of practitioners within the field of in-school entrepreneurship to allow for diverse approaches. One of the aims of “Eskom’s EE Simama Ranta” is to identify a range of different approaches and models that prove effective within different settings in order to create potential for such approaches to be disseminated to similar settings. A core output of in-school entrepreneurship education is embedded entrepreneurial thinking. It is about the creation of entrepreneurial intent. As such, entrepreneurship education at school level is vastly different from any after-school approach where the primary emphasis is upon business start-up. Now, imagine if the South African youth are able to build a business or organization from practically nothing rather than to only work with “what is.” They make things happen for themselves by accepting responsibility, rather than “to blame.” They turn set-backs into an opportunity rather than to be “a victim.” They see a gap. They sense an opportunity. They maintain effort until their objectives had been met. They build a founding team of expertise. They initiate and do. They have the know-how to find, marshal and control resources. They take calculated risks. Let us work towards the attainment of such an entrepreneurial culture amongst our youth in South Africa?