21st Century Skills for 21st Century South Africa
Entrepreneurs in Action (EiA) were commissioned by CIDA University to deliver a captivating and inspirational programme to 30 third year students.
CIDA University provides higher education designed to encourage human, economic and social development. CIDA aims to transform its students into leaders of their communities who will help advance the socio-economic transformation of the country and the broader region. Thus, CIDA is positioned to offer wider access to higher education to students who are historically disadvantaged at a low cost to them. Students at CIDA receive tuition scholarships and the educational experience helps them realise their personal, academic and financial aspirations.
The entrepreneurial programme delivered by Entrepreneurs in Action (EiA), focused on teaching 21st century skills for success and raising the aspirations of students to take ownership of their future by helping them to understand the skills needed to be successful in business today. The goal was to unleash the potential and unlock the talent of these young people. The programme was delivered over 7 days and took place at the CIDA university campus in Johannesburg.
EiA delivered a mix of Raising your Game, The Entrepreneur in You and Business Challenge week. The first 2 days were spent exploring the motivation of students and building core entrepreneurial skills, leading to the 5 days on a "campus to boardroom". There were two groups of 15 students, each lead by an EiA coach and responding to one of two exciting business challenges, set by Omnicor, a people development consultancy and Standard Bank, South Africa's largest bank.
Omnicor challenged students to recommend ways to improve their market penetration
Standard Bank challenged students to research four major banks and four agricultural co-ops to understand how they manage their production credit book and mitigate the risks and to present this information as a competitor market analysis.
In addition students were visited by executives from LeaderQuest, a global community of entrepreneurs and partners that exists to improve the quality of leadership in the world and to influence the way leaders have impact. A fellow South African, Mzamo Masito, Brand Director for Nike South Africa also shared his leadership story, from the townships to the boardroom.
The programme was met with much enthusiasm and praise by the students. They embraced the challenges that were set and worked hard to prepare their presentations. As the week progressed, they began to realise their potential, grow in confidence and build their self esteem. In 7 days, students went from the "campus to boardroom." Their hard work paid off when they presented their ideas to senior executives in the boardroom of Omnicor and Standard Bank. It was an exhilarating experience with tears of joy!
“Going to the Standard bank building was like a "long walk to freedom" being cut short. The people on the street were looking at us with interest and the fellow students were cheering us. It was absolutely beautiful and empowering.”
“The great thing I would definitely take away with me is the positivity I have gained through the programme. The skills I have obtained will assist me to advance well in the corporate world.”
“I really enjoyed the business challenge as it really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It combined all the theory that I have been learning in my BBA into one amazing experience”. Patrick, CIDA student.
“The programme has been awesome. As an individual, I have unleashed a lot of potential that I never knew I had before. The programme has been one of its kind in my entire life. I really appreciate the brilliant idea of coming up with such an initiative like the EiA which actually plays a great role in growing an individual. Thanks EiA.” Elluid, CIDA Student
Feedback from business leaders was also positive.
“They had integrated the brief well and they came across as very professional.” Hilton, MD Omnicor. He commented that “The experience was invaluable for our organisation. It helped to focus attention on the right areas and it was a boon for us to take our eyes off the operational details and engage in some thought leadership
Derek Browne, CEO Entrepreneurs in Action commented “This experience was truly emotional and lifechanging. To see firsthand how these students evolved in a week was exceptional and inspirational. It is at times like this that I reflect upon and am proud of what EiA stands for. Our vision is fast becoming a reality. South Africa was a shining example of how talent can be unlocked in young people given the right guidance and opportunity to develop.”
Since we have returned, students have continued to share their experiences with EiA.
"I sit and look back at the time I first saw you guys, I remember sitting at the hall and praying so hard that you do not ask me to speak and as I reflect daily I notice that you have had a great impact on my life, and you have helped build the great leader that so silently laid inside me.
Anyway not so long ago I walked through the same streets of Johannesburg to Standard Bank for an interview for One of the Graduate Programmes which is a leadership programme focusing on developing communication skills, presentation skills and so forth. You would be pleased to know that as I walked in the room the lady recognised me and was impressed about my presentation skills (skills I developed in few days). It has been amazing having to put into action all that we were taught and see the results, not just results but Life changin results. I remember sitting during the interview and smiling as I felt prepared but more then that I was happy about my communication skills and how I was presenting myself as the lady nodded her head I knew it was a sign of being impressed. And Indeed she was. As a result, this coming weekend I'll be attending the last interview selection process being the asessments, as I’ve passed everything else with flying colours.
I look forward to my assessment weekend and to interact with the C.E.O’s of Standard Bank and putting into play what I have learnt and branding me well. With the skills you taught me they won't know what hit them.” Berniece, CIDA Student.
To receive such positive and emotional feedback was uplifting. We were pleased to learn that one student has applied for a position on the Standard Bank graduate scheme and has been shortlisted to attend a final assessment. As a result of the programme, Omnicor have offered a marketing internship to one of the students.
EiA have been invited back to South Africa in 2011 to deliver our programme to unlock the talent in young people. Tomorrow's leaders are the young people of today.