More than a hundred young aspiring entrepreneurs will be gathering in Stellenbosch on Tuesday, 9 February 2016 to kick-off with this year’s USB Executive Development (USB-ED) entrepreneurship programme.
Presented annually by USB-ED, the popular entrepreneurship programme’s branding was recently changed from the Gap-year Programme in Entrepreneurship and Management to the Young Minds Entrepreneurship Programme
to better reflect a full-fledged career-focussed alternative.
The opening of this year’s programme will have Curro Holdings CEO, Dr Chris van der Merwe, as guest speaker. As an entrepreneur he started the successful Curro independent school group in 1998 with 28 leaners in the vestry of a church in Durbanville.
With the programme having been attended by more than 300 participants since the launch of the programme in January 2011, it has now grown too much more than just to “fill a gap” for young people.
According to De Wet Schoeman, programme leader and director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship
at USB-ED, the original idea was to make a gap-year more productive for young people instead of just having fun and traveling.
“Rebranded to the ‘Young Minds Entrepreneurship Programme’, it provides a more accurate description of what the programme offer - to help young people develop dynamic mind-sets that prepare them to successfully manage their personal and professional lives in a modern environment,” Schoeman said.
The programme is aimed at matriculates who want to prepare themselves for successful careers, students who have terminated their studies and feel unsure about the future, and those who have graduated and want to create their own opportunities or move into corporate business.
Schoeman believes the demand for programmes such as this one will increase as the environment in which young people have to establish themselves becomes more dynamic and competitive.
The programme is offered over 10-months from 9 February to 30 November 2016 and presented in two phases.
The first phase consist of creating a theoretical framework of the modern economic environment, its challenges, and the opportunities it holds. Within this contexts it focus on three broad development areas, namely Personal leadership, Entrepreneurship and Business management. Participants will have class three times a week, with practical work and assignments in between. Participants also receive life coaching to support them with their personal development process.
In the second phase participants will independently explore the real world of work and business, and report back on experiences every two weeks. At the end of this phase participants will present a life plan, as well as a comprehensive business plan for final assessment.
Through this process, participants will experience a constructive personal journey that focuses on personal mastery, and subject areas such as marketing, operational and human resources, basic management skills and ﬁnancial management.
According to Schoeman, participants are also given the opportunity to discover their talents, strengths and weaknesses, improve their decision-making skills and develop their emotional intelligence to deal better with others.
"The programme also develops their entrepreneurial mind-sets, which does not necessarily mean starting their own businesses, but being able to recognise opportunities or creating their own.”
Participants who complete the programme successfully will receive a Certificate of Competence in Entrepreneurship and Management from Stellenbosch University (SU).