Johannesburg - Entrepreneurship should be part of any school curriculum, say experts from the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), currently taking place in Johannesburg.
The statement was first made by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during his keynote address at the conference, which for the first time is being held on African soil.
"Young people must, from an early age, be encouraged to innovate and be problem-solvers. They must be given the skills to turn ideas into viable businesses,” he said during his speech.
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“Most importantly, they must leave school appreciating that entrepreneurship can be a viable career option. While many people have the aptitude to be successful entrepreneurs, our experience in South Africa is that many struggle to fulfil their potential without effective support,” Ramaphosa added.
The 2017 GEC has attracted more than 6 000 delegates from 165 countries for the world’s largest entrepreneurial gathering of investors, policy makers and researchers.
The GEC is hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Sustainable Entrepreneur Accelerator (SEA) Africa and the City of Johannesburg.
SEA Africa is also custodian to the Global Entrepreneurship Network – South Africa (GEN-SA) chapter.
Gamuchirai Mutezo, chief operations officer of SEA Africa, said that there were numerous benefits from instilling values of entrepreneurship in the early stages of a child’s schooling career.
“There are many great benefits such as the realisation of innovative ideas at a young age, a shift from an employee narrative to an entrepreneur-driven narrative, an understanding of monetary concepts and its value, greater contribution to the economy over time due to job creation and contribution towards the GDP as well as having a positive impact on the social fabric of youngsters,” Mutezo said.
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Petra Rees, managing director for business support and shared resources project, Lean Enterprise Acceleration Programmes (LEAP), said that teaching entrepreneurship in schools is the ultimate answer to many problems faced today.
“What we need to teach our children at schools is understanding concepts (not subjects), connecting the dots, imagination, curiosity, resilience, pushing the boundaries, social competitiveness, seeing opportunities, seeing the world from another perspective – all of these are entrepreneurial traits that by the way can be taught,” Rees told Fin24.
The GEC is being held at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg from 13 to 16 March.