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Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs.

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False Bay TVET College’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) applied for an innovative project of incubating 20 young entrepreneurs late in 2020 and were awarded this in January 2021.

The funder, The British Council, wanted to commission the services of an Incubator that would develop and accelerate young people to start and grow impact-led businesses and effectively service key sectors of economic priority, while promoting social and environmental value impact enterprises. This impact refers to sustainable profit-making businesses that contribute to positive social and environmental change either through their products, services or business model.

The CfE liaised with the College’s marketing department to come up with a niche marketing campaign to appeal to the desired audience.This campaign was activated in March and resulted in over 80 expressions of interest being received.

This was followed by two information sessions, completion of a personal entrepreneurial profile and finally, in a team interview.  Twenty young people, all under 35, were secured for this cohort.

At least ten of these young people are graduates from tertiary higher education institutions.

As an added value, the British Council contracted with the Social Enterprise Academy to conduct Social Enterprise training.  The CfE decided to have this training in the form of a Boot Camp held towards the end of May. This meant setting aside 5 days for both the learning from the Social Enterprise Academy and “piggybacking” the need to grow the engagement, collaboration and building team spirit of the beneficiaries.

The focus of the Social Enterprise Academy is to support entrepreneurs to enhance social impact. The programme explores how traditional enterprises can incorporate social and environmental impact principles into their existing business models.

The incubation programme commences in June, and it is hoped that valuable lessons encountered during the Boot Camp will help to maintain the momentum achieved over the five days.

Here are some lessons and nuggets from the Boot Camp.

Engagement.
Having 20 young people gather together from various locations, different backgrounds and with differing expectations requires skillful and intentional on-boarding.  Engagement is not automatic.  In this instance, engagement was high and continuous over the 5 days.

Safe place.
The engagement was high simply because a safe environment was skillfully cultivated, and the level of transparency and vulnerability was a testament to this.

Team spirit.
It is one thing to have 20 plus people in a room. It is quite another to see them grow in personal confidence and in trust of one another and the facilitators.

Offering a place for their voice.
It was notable to see quiet, less confident young people exploring the privilege of voicing their opinion.

Growth in confidence.
The entrepreneurial journey requires a healthy dose of self-belief and confidence in building, launching and scaling a business. The Boot Camp reinforced the principle of participation in a non-judgmental manner;  a solid start to personal development over the next 9 months.

Sensitising to conducting their business in a Social entrepreneurship framework.

The cohort of young people were introduced to real-life social challenges and ways in which these could be integrated within their own context and business.

The CfE/RI is grateful to the British Council and its partner service provider, the Social Enterprise Academy, for this invaluable input into this cohort of young entrepreneurs.

For more information about the False Bay TVET College, Centre for Entrepreneurship / Rapid Incubator, please feel free to contact the Centre Manager, Mr Steve Reid – 021 201 1215

 

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