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2012 School Entrepreneurship Conference Highlights Entrepreneurial Potential Of SA’s Learners


by on 13/12/12 at 8:12 am
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The Inaugural School Entrepreneurship Conference was held at the University of Cape Town from 30 November to 6 December 2012. 100 high school learners from Khayelitsha were sponsored to attend the event. 12 guest speakers, 1 guest lecturer, 3 training workshops and 10 business pitch sessions later, the first ever conference on entrepreneurship for high school learners only came to an end.

“I have always wanted to create an event for high school learners. The School Entrepreneurship Conference was a natural progression from my School Entrepreneurship Programme. Having observed the attitudes and reactions of all of those involved in this event, from the speakers to delegates, I am confident this can become a national annual event. I want my School Entrepreneurship Conference to be held annually in each Province in 5 years time. This is my goal.” says McLeod.

McLeod continues…“If we are to promote entrepreneurship in South Africa or anywhere in the world for that matter, why are we only doing it for people who have left/completed school ? Why are we not creating an environment that fosters entrepreneurship at earlier stages in a person’s life, like at high school ? All of the current business pitch sessions, business plan competitions and so on are targeted at the youth. The youth are aged 18 – 35 (this may differ depending on your definitation of “Youth”) but there are no opportunities, no competitions, nothing to activate and foster entrepreneurship amongst high school learners. My School Entrepreneurship Programme and School Entrepreneurship Conference aims to create this space and activate entrepreneurial thinking and behaviour amongst high school learners. All of the entrepreneurs we constantly refer to in talks, the likes of Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and so on, all started out when they were in high school. If we are using these people as inspiration, why not do it like they did ie: start early.”

The School Entrepreneurship Conference was a 5 day event held at the University of Cape Town. The Conference kicked off on Friday 30 November and run until Thursday 6 December.  A full conference programme, giving you an idea of the Conference’s activities, can be downloaded here. “It was a great event. The learners were interacting, thinking and starting to walk the talk. The guest speakers educated and entertained the delegates. The training workshops upskilled and empowered them and the guest lecturer opened their minds on how to find new business ideas. All in all, it was fantastic and as I have mentioned, it confirmed to me that this should be annual event run in each Province of South Africa.” says McLeod.

The 2013 School Entrepreneurship Conference will take place again at the University of Cape Town. We will be looking to launch one in Gauteng as well next year. “We foresee this initiative becoming the School Entrepreneurship Conference Series as we initiate it in each Province over the next couple of years” says McLeod. He continues, “We will be looking to partner with key organisations/institutions going forward as well. These organisations/institutions will be the host organisations in each Province.”

For an overview of the Inaugural School Entrepreneurship Conference, please click here to download the powerpoint presentation. To get involved please feel free to contact Alexander McLeod on alex@water-berry.co.za or visit www.water-berry.co.za for more information.

Ideate is one of South Africa's biggest business blogs, with a team of authors all of whom have had entrepreneurial experience. Ideate is read by entrepreneurs thinking BIG. Follow us on Twitter here. View more articles by Staff Reporter.

Tags: alex mcleod, entrepreneurship, learners, school, UCT, Water Berry

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