Teaching enterprise in South Africa
Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) is helping to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs in South Africa.
27 September 2012
Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA), is helping to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs through their entrepreneurship academy, according to a report from the City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development (CSD).
Job creation is a priority in South Africa, and with nearly half of all 15-24-year-olds unemployed, finding a job remains a ‘formidable challenge’. But the programme is providing young people with an understanding of what is required to set up their own businesses.
The JASA Academy teaches entrepreneurial and life skills, as well as offering practical business experience. It was run in eight pilot schools in 2011, three of which were evaluated by CSD - two in Johannesburg and one in a rural area in Mpumalanga. The schools serve disadvantaged, predominantly black communities.
The eight-month programme, which runs after school for three hours a week, is open to 16 and 17-year-olds. The course is free, but students have to ‘buy into’ the businesses they start up.
‘A focus on self-confidence, employability skills and soft skills is essential,’ said Chris Gale, CSD Project Manager. ‘These will benefit learners regardless of their chosen career pathway.’
The report recommends courses are short and dynamic, with a strong focus on practical work, contextualised to the local market and with the involvement of the wider community.
Following the course, students reported an improvement in their knowledge about business principles including supply and demand, income and profit, and competitive advantage. They also felt more confident in identifying customers, setting prices, drawing up a budget, and writing a business plan. Speaking about their experience, one trainer said: [the learners] got to understand that starting a business is a challenge, they’ve learned to investigate prior to decision making.’