School Entrepreneurship Olympiad: Unearthing Future Entrepreneurs In Schools

The School Entrepreneurship Trust is proud to announce that creativity, innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit is alive in high school students !

The Trust, in partnership with the University of Cape Town(UCT) launched a pilot School Entrepreneurship Olympiad in the fourth school term of 2014. 26 schools were invited to participate in Round 1 which took place on Saturday 1 November 2014. 11 schools progressed through to the final round of the Olympiad which formed part of the Trust’s annual School Entrepreneurship Conference. The event took place from 2 – 4 December 2014 and was hosted by the University of Cape Town. An additional five schools were invited along to participate in the final round as wild card entries. A total 16 high schools from across the Metropole Central Education District competed for the title of Olympiad Champions.

“The level of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit shown by these learners was fantastic to witness…” says Alexander McLeod, Olympiad Convenor and founder of the School Entrepreneurship Trust. He goes on to say….”Private sector and Government need to pay attention to the work the Trust is doing as we are unearthing the future innovators and industry leaders through such an initiative. To have UCT on board as our official partner proves that we have something credible and effective to deliver. Our proposal to UCT to partner with us was ratified and approved by both the Innovation Forum and Commerce Faculty Board of UCT. ”

The School Entrepreneurship Olympiad is similar in format to a Maths and Science Olympiad except in this case, the participants are not sitting down and writing tests. We are not testing theoretical knowledge with this initiative. Instead, the school students have to spot real world problems and business opportunities and present solutions for these. They had five minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in the final round. The judging panel comprised of three judges:

Professor David Priilaid – Convenor of the Postgraduate in Entrepreneurship at UCT

Keagan Carr – Department of Economic Development and Tourism

Karlind Govender – Creative Industry Entrepreneur and Micro-Venture Capitalist

The schools were represented by five members of their School Entrepreneurship Society. At the Olympiad information session held in September 2014, the Trust issued each of the schools present with an Entrepreneurship Society Starter Guide. This guide provided schools with the necessary information on how to set up and manage an entrepreneurship society at their school. Included in this guide were a few activities that the society could implement at their school to advocate and create awareness around entrepreneurship. The guide was developed by the School Entrepreneurship Trust.

The schools were competing for prize money to the value of R21 000.00 which was split as follows:

1st Place: R7500 to the five team members and R3000 to their Entrepreneurship Society

2nd Place: R5000 to the five team members and R2000 to their Entrepreneurship Society

3rd Place: R2500 to the five team members and R1000 to their Entrepreneurship Society

Winners and their business ideas for the final round of the School Entrepreneurship Olympiad were:

1st Place: Rustenberg Girls High School who presented “Upcode” – a mobile application that allows you to consolidate all your loyalty cards, discount vouchers and any other reward system units into one application

2nd Place: Oaklands High School who presented a beacon based shopping application that alerts shoppers upon entering a store or shopping mall of specials on products/services they regularly purchase

3rd Place: Garlandale High School who presented a stationery recycling and sales business which will allow schools and students to easily manage their stationery consumption

“A special word of thanks must to go to our sponsors, the DG Murray Trust and Deloitte. Without the support of these two organisations this event would not have taken place…” says Alexander McLeod. He continues…”next year we will be looking to open the Olympiad up to all high schools in the four Metropole Education Districts so look out for more Entrepreneurship Societies being set up and more schools engaging in entrepreneurial activity !”

For more information on this School Entrepreneurship Trust or the School Entrepreneurship Olympiad, please contact Alexander McLeod on alexander@setrust.org. You can also follow Alexander on Twitter – @alex_mcleod1