Entrepreneurship, The Virgin way

2 10 2008

We have been actively involved in Entrepreneurship for the past 12 years in different activities. It is not really the activity of Entrepreneurship that is so important but who the target for these activities are! I have noted the amount of training colleges and private schools for Entrepreneurship and recently did a study on the costs for attendance of these schools as well as a look at the curriculum.

My results did not particularly surprise me. The latest on the market is an entrepreneurial school supported by Richard Branson of the Virgin Group fame and headed by an international actress. The course consists of an section I have not seen in most of the other courses and that is a strong element of of “you can do it” or of conceptual encouragement.

The average cost of such a course is R2000.00 unless you want to do the longer courses offered by groups like Stellenbosch University School of Entrepreneurship which has a vastly different cost and time structure.

My question would be who are you targeting for these courses as it seems it is all post school and financially able candidates who want to sharpen their focus or change career and the course contents basically cover all aspects of producing a Business Plan.

My concern with that in South  Africa is that we have specific needs where the candidate should be pre School leaver and i recommend Grade 9-11. The reason for this is that these grades have the ability to grasp the content and also have the desire to consider their future. The reason I do not target grade 12 (which actually can be done and we have done it successfully in the past) is that they are normally overloaded with the final school year as it is. We need to enable the young adult to consider his own business before he hits the unemployment market and becomes negative or reverts to unhealthy means of generating an income. Once a scholl leaver has been unsuccessfully in the job market for over a year the chance that he/she becomes involved in criminal or other unsavoury activities increases tremendously.

It is also very difficult to motivate such individuals that they are able as they have such a negative outlook that whatever is shown is greeted with great interest but seldom comes of the ground and I have wondered why that is. It is because a lack of trust in ones abilities negates the potential for success and as in each business when that time to overcome presents itself they simply fold. We know that one of the main causes for success is perseverance and that ability does not exist in someone who has been unemployed for a considerable time.

The Spangenberg Management Solutions “Entrepreneurship Development Program” (EDP) is geared at the target market that will make the long term difference by not being engulfed in the unemployment market but experiencing the joy of generating own income which inspires one to the next step of increasing or improving your business activity further and employing others to enlarge capacity.  The EDP is also geared to stimulate the mind set and not only add on to the skill set of participants.

The course covers three broad sections;

1.   Conceptualisation. This covers the areas of where do business ideas come from and how do we generate potentially successful business concepts. This inspires participants to break free from the restrictive thinking of similar businesses in the same way using the same skills. The concepts of “add value” and “enhance” are closely looked at.

2.   Formalisation. This is where we look at the business plan and test the concepts discussed. The purpose of a business plan is twofold, One is to obtain funders believing in the BP and the second is to test the potential success and feasibility of the business. Sadly this is where most courses stop. There is no purpose to have a plan that you have checked and proven itself financially viable and not engage it.

3.  Actualisation. Here we use basic principles of Project Management to ensure the person is able to "get his feet on the ground" and initiate the business. That is in obtaining the funding if required and to conclude the paper work and establishment of a formalised or informal business. Most importantly is that the person must “just do it” as Nike would encourage!

Without these three elements in a program it is seldom that ot is just simply a funding area for various training colleges. 

I welcome any interest in this program and look forward to presenting it to schools the coming year 2009! South Africa has fantastic times ahead with the Soccer Worldcup 2010 coming and we need be ready in all aspects for this challenge.

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