Cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit in the South African schooling system has become paramount in light of the growing unemployment rate. Scooler, a school entrepreneur movement has made it its mission to create an entrepreneurial environment among schools by challenging both government and businesses to stop talking about unemployment and grab the bull by the horns.
Scooler provides a platform for students at school to start asking vital questions and exploring entrepreneurial alternatives. On the website and via their social media platforms, students have access to valuable information about how to run a business; how to secure funding for their business; connection to like-minded youth and exposure of their existing school businesses or money making initiatives to the community, corporates and investors.
In order to create awareness about Scooler, the R100,000 Scooler Clash was launched on Thursday, 23 August 2018, calling on all Grade 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s and 12s to enter for free and battle it out to win R100,000 for the best existing business or money making initiative currently run by a student at school. The company’s main objective is to draw Grade 8 and 12 learners from across the country and incorporate them into the entrepreneur movement by making them aware of what entrepreneurship is and inspire them to shape their own futures by exploring an alternative to mainstream tertiary education.
Opportunities to shape the future
As early as Grade 8, high-school students are being called upon to make monumental decisions as to their future and career but with the current state of employment in South Africa, limited opportunities make for much tougher choices. Typically, the options for school-leavers are to study, travel or take a gap year, but more and more youngsters are looking to be their own bosses and to shape their own destinies.
However, Schooler founder, Leon Lategan points out: "We have found a serious lack of information available to students at school around the subject of entrepreneurship, resulting in very few of them exploring this avenue after school." He adds that statistics reveal grim prospects for school-leavers - 49% of students with Grade 12 and 23.3% with a tertiary education will not find jobs.
One also has to consider the extremely high unemployment rate of 5.98 million in South Africa, the excessive drop-out rates at universities – in 2017 alone, after four years studying at University the completion rate was only 36%, and at schools, 533,491 students dropped out before reaching Grade 12! The prohibitive cost of tuition is also a cause for concern where students can expect to pay no less than R120,000 for a three-year degree, and that excludes living expenses and accommodation, not to mention the fact that more than 50% of students applying to get into university will not be accepted due to limited space. And, just to add salt to the wound there is the threat of automation, artificial intelligence and robotics to vie with too.
The winner will receive a R50,000 cash prize and R50,000 worth of mentoring, coaching, advertising and social media exposure for their business. All the submitted businesses will be profiled on the Scooler website where friends, family and the Scooler community get to vote for who they believe is the best entrepreneur running the best business at school. Four runner-ups will each also receive R10,000 worth of coaching for their businesses.
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