Ricochet News

Turning kids into entrepreneurs can transform communities

By Nicky Willemse - Aug 28, 2018
Turning kids into entrepreneurs can transform communities

TWO Nelson Mandela Bay principals agree that developing entrepreneurial skills in children when they’re young – when they are at their most creative and fearless – could help them to break their family’s cycle of poverty.

“In our school, 80% of the parents are unemployed. We’re teaching our kids that if you don’t have anything to eat at home, you can make money …I would love to see partnerships developing between parents and their kids where, as the kids are learning, they can transfer their skills to their parents and start their own family businesses,” said Nombulelo Sume,from New Brighton’s Charles Duna Primary, where a number of the pupils are being sponsored to participate in the Young Entrepreneurs (YE) programme, which is offered nationally.

Sume, along with Jacob Meyer, principal of Uitenhage Primary – where a similar sponsored YE programme is run – were among the guests attending the recent launch of the city’s first “edu-entrepreneurial hub”, situated at 87 Main Road Walmer, which is home to the city’s Young Entrepreneurs franchise and other educational extra-mural kids’ programmes.

“I can see the growth in our learners – we are helping them to broaden their vision,” said Meyer. “My school is in a poverty-stricken community. We have to change the mindset of our community to move away from social grants to developing entrepreneurs who can develop their own businesses and become independent … We want our children to be good citizens. That is our ultimate aim.”

Nkosinathi Clay, stakeholder relations manager at Volkswagen Community Trust, which is sponsoring the YE programme at Uitenhage Primary, said: “High unemployment is a challenge in our country, even for people with degrees. The YE programmes offer a solution … and how perfect to start kids at an early age, when they’re at their most creative, and to build up from there.

“They will have financial freedom – and not be like us [their parent’s generation]. They will understand that they need to have a bank account, that they need to have a positive cash flow, and that they need to generate profits.”

Locally Yours coordinator, Annelize Botha, said the YE children who were selling their products at the Locally Yours hand-crafted market in the Bay were teaching her adult stallholders “how to market”.

“Children don’t have the fear we adults have. They don’t hold back. It’s inspirational.”

Children aged seven to 18 in the YE programme – whether sponsored or private participants – spend half the year learning how to run their own small product-based business, and the other half learning about financial literacy.

“Developing an entrepreneurial mindset is relevant for all kids, regardless of whether they go on to become engineers or lawyers. Having the knowledge to set up and run their own businesses is a life skill,” said Ansulene Prinsloo, a former accounting academic who owns the city’s YE franchise.

She said the new hub would give the YE programme “space to do more”.

Angelique Gardner, whose sons Logan, 12, and Luke, 10, participate in the YE programme, said: “I love seeing the kids grow within the programme.

“They’ve been thrown into a world they need to survive in. The skills they’re picking up at YE are invaluable. Plus, they’re enjoying it, and having lots of fun. They’re even learning about things like taxes, which can only help them in life. It’s a vital life skill.”

Leizel Bruinders, mother of YE kids Niamh, 12, and Kai, 9, said: “My children are able to see the economic world around them … They have a much greater awareness of money and how money works… School doesn’t teach financial literacy, yet these are essential skills because we operate in the world of economics.”

Their father, Kurt, said he wanted his children to develop entrepreneurial skills “to give them a possible career option and empower them if they choose to go that route”.

Lee Duru, Algoa FM presenter and mother of Elah, 9, said: “For me, entrepreneurship is an essential life-skill. It’s right up there with swimming.”

In addition to being home to the YE programmes in Nelson Mandela Bay, a number of other extramural activities will also be offered at the new “87 on Main” premises in Main Road, Walmer.

Image: Celebrating the launch of Port Elizabeth’s new edu-entrepreneurial hub for kids are (from left) Volkswagen Community Trust stakeholder relations manager Nkosinathi Clay, Uitenhage Primary principal Jacob Meyer, Young Entrepreneurs franchise owner Ansulene Prinsloo – who is running the hub – and Charles Duna Primary principal, Nombulelo Sume.