Ithala helps thousands of pupils get a hands-on sense of entrepreneurship

Chickens and eggs earned youngsters at Birches Pre-Primary School, Pinetown a Silver Level Certificate from Teach A Man To Fish. Proudly showing off their certificate are from left Shaila Moodley, Seneme Thabethe, Oliver Brown and Levi Naiker.

Ithala Development Finance Corporation’s support of the School Enterprise Challenge has helped some 2034 pupils in schools across rural and peri-urban KwaZulu-Natal gain vital business, entrepreneurship and transferable life skills over the past three years.

The School Enterprise Challenge, established and run by NGO Teach A Man To Fish, is a student-led business start-up competition for schools around the world.

It supports schools to set up enterprises as a hands-on way of teaching practical and business skills and generate income in the process.

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In KZN, over 150 teachers have been trained to use the School Enterprise Challenge resources and approaches to continue the project in their schools thus enabling more learners to achieve critical skills.

“Ithala’s continued support has enabled to expand our reach to more schools, leverage further funding (600, 000 Euros or R8 million), establish a permanent presence, deepen our relationship with the Department of Education and also tailor our approach to the needs of schools and young people in South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal,” said Susanna Morcowitz, South Africa programmes manager at Teach A Man To Fish.

The 2018 Budget Speech affirmed government’s support towards creating an enabling environment in which small businesses could thrive as this sector is considered an important lever in generating jobs and growing the economy inclusively.

In particular, equipping the youth with sufficient business skills and looking critically at the policies that involve funding for youth-owned businesses, were high on the agenda.

“We fully support the integration of the School Enterprise Challenge in to the school Business Studies curriculum which enhances the academic and practical life experiences of pupils,” said Sitandiwe Dimba, Ithala’s group reputation management manager.

Dimba added that this initiative dovetails perfectly with their development mandate and is an excellent project for Ithala to sponsor and be associated with.

The School Enterprise Programme has been a big hit in rural KwaZulu-Natal communities, and has gone a long way to meeting the entrepreneurship of the people.

“We believe we will in the future have a significant impact on rural and the township economies,” said Dimba.
Morcowitz explained that School Enterprise Challenge business teams are guided to come up with business ideas that are feasible and suited to their specific environment.

ALSO READ: KZN small business achievers saluted for their contribution to local economy

Teams start with a resource assessment followed by a feasibility study to determine which of their ideas would be the most successful. Popular business ideas include tuck shops, vegetable gardens and handicrafts.

“It’s not just about making a profit. There is a lot to be learnt from businesses that don’t succeed or just make a small profit. Teach A Man To Fish places learning above all else when it comes to participating in a school business,” said Dimba.

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