South Africa

Youth Entrepreneurship Education: The Teams behind the Programs

Course design is a key component of any entrepreneurial education programme. Innovative techniques and disruptive methods are the basis for impactful programmes. Course design alone however does not create change and foster learning. It’s the teams behind the delivery and administration of these programmes that fosters transformation.

 As one of the graduates of the Raymond Ackerman Academy puts it:

Wherever I go, people talk about how the RAA course was designed, I feel like it was tailor-made for me because as much as we were given the entrepreneurship principles, the staff were there to build our character.  The support staff and their approach and philosophy to building the program, and the participants, play a critical role in determining the impact of a program.

Characteristics of entrepreneurs have been well-described, while the characteristics of teams who support entrepreneurial education and training remain invisible.  In July, the RAA team designed and presented a two day ‘Building your Entrepreneurial Mind-set’ boot camp for a group of young interns who had been trained as content creators, social media gurus , photographers, bloggers, digital analysts and graphic designers. They knew how to be creative but did not consider themselves entrepreneurial. By the end of the weekend the participants had developed the following excellent list of characteristics to describe ‘successful’ entrepreneurs:

  • Enjoyment

  • Focus

  • Creativity

  • Adaptability

  • Curiosity

  • Commitment

  • Flexibility

  • Getting out of comfort zone

  • Observant

  • Trust

  • Support

  • Passion

  • Discipline

  • Confidence

  • Team work

  • Community

  • Communication

  • Persistence

  • Collaboration

  • Enthusiasm

  • Leadership

  • Talent

  • Open to possibility

  • Understanding

  • Compromise

  • Risk Taking

  • Patience

  • Compassion

While each of these characteristics perfectly describes an entrepreneur – they also describe key characteristics displayed by the teams that support impactful entrepreneurial development programs.  These teams recognise that they are there to support entrepreneurial learning, however more than the delivery of business skills, entrepreneurial development requires being entrepreneurial in all aspects of a program. It takes passion, energy, compassion, commitment, risk taking, determination, flexibility and optimism to create and deliver programs that foster those same characteristics in the aspiring participant entrepreneurs. To build an entrepreneur act like an entrepreneur.

Above all, entrepreneurial teams recognise that when developing entrepreneurial mind-sets you grow a person not a business: If you want a sustainable business, you need to make the person sustainable and therefore care is the frame for the work.

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