A project-based entrepreneurship experience for South African youth
CREED was launched in January of 2015 at the Mamelodi Initiative Summer Program. During this course, grade 11 students from the community are trained in important entrepreneurial concepts like opportunity recognition, communication, marketing, and how they can make an effective impact in their communities through entrepreneurship.
The capstone of the program is the business plan competition, where each learner showcases their independent entrepreneurial projects—with business ideas ranging from specialty clothing lines for children to eateries that offer on-site advice from dietitians. The business plans are, of course, not judged based on feasibility, but the learners’ ability to perceive and provide a solution to an issue that they observe in their community.
The CREED teaching team is new each program, and is typically made up of two South African co-teachers, and one American co-teacher. Co-teachers assist me in delivering content, planning activities, and judging the business plan competitions at the end of the program. Each co-teacher is also required to deliver their own day of CREED content. As the director, I ensure that each co-teacher understands the CREED curriculum, learning goals, and is motivated to work with our learners each day.
CREED's curriculum is derived from lessons that I have learned through the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and as a Babson College student. Curriculum development began in September 2014 after my first volunteer trip to South Africa through the Mamelodi Initiative.
Content chunking CREED's primary learning model - short bursts of video, lecturing, discussion, group activities and games gives students a more effective and retentive learning environment.
CREED takes place in two phases - EXPLORE and PURSUE.
In EXPLORE, students are exposed to entrepreneurship. By learning how to recognize opportunity and good entrepreneurial characteristics, learners are able to gain a deeper understanding of what entrepreneurship is, and begin to come up with business ideas of their own.
During PURSE, students do an experiential deep dive. For this week, CREED students begin developing their own business plans based on what ideas they come up with in the EXPLORE phase. Learners quickly understand the need for pivoting in entrepreneurship, and how to shape solutions around the needs of their community.
Context is king - I had to adjust American curricula to be relevant for South African audiences
A mixture of discussion and project-based learning is most effective for small cohorts with small windows of time (3 weeks)
High-schoolers love to have fun, regardless of age or nationality - games, activities and prizes helped to reinforce learning.