Digital learning game promotes entrepreneurship

Fostering a culture of entrepreneurship among the country’s youth is the key to reducing high levels of unemployment. This insight prompted the development of the Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge (AGEC), which aims to directly address unemployment using entrepreneurship as a vehicle for change, by cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship among high school learners and nurturing an entrepreneurial mind-set using gamification.

“To help grow the economy and move the country forward, South Africa needs more entrepreneurs. Yet, being a successful entrepreneur is not as easy as it seems. This Challenge exposes learners to the skills and outlook they will need to start their entrepreneurial journey and ultimately make a positive contribution to the country and the economy,” says Anthony Selley, Head of Gameplay at AGEC.

Currently in its second year, AGEC was established by long-term investment company Allan Gray and the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation – a foundation committed to investing in the education and development of individuals with entrepreneurial potential in Southern Africa for the past ten years.

According to Selley, the six-week Challenge, available on mobile and web app will run from 1 August – 12 September.

The Challenge uses digital learning to instil a culture of entrepreneurship in the minds of grades 8-12 learners. Furthermore, it educates learners on how best to act and think like entrepreneurs, while delivering a series of micro-challenges, which allows learners to apply new knowledge or concepts in real-world situations.” Though entrepreneurship education has been on the rise, our understanding of entrepreneurship is limited and is not broadly defined. As such, the Challenge seeks to broaden the understanding of entrepreneurship amongst youth and highlight opportunities that youth can exploit.

New themes are introduced as part of the micro-challenges each week and learner performance is measured using a points system. Selley says more complex challenges are worth more points, but to reach the difficult phases, candidates need to pass the easy ones first. This year’s Challenges will be assessed using rubric-driven peer reviews conducted by participating students, moderated by teachers and fed into the scoring system. The accumulated points place the learner, their class and their school on a series of live leader boards.

The 2018 Challenge themes

  • · Social entrepreneurship
  • · Transport
  • · Health
  • · Sustainability
  • · Artificial intelligence
  • · Blockchain

Selley adds that AGEC was developed in-line with the demands of the 21st century and the Fourth Industrial Revolution – an era marked by emerging technology breakthroughs in a number of fields including robotics, artificial intelligence and blockchain. During each challenge, participants will be exposed to a range of mind-sets, habits and concepts for entrepreneurs, as well to some of the latest tech developments. This process allows learners to re-imagine themselves and the world around them through experiential problem-solving learning.

“We believe that entrepreneurs are created and nurtured and the Challenge provides an opportunity to use new methods of encouraging as well as cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset in youth regardless of their chosen path. We see AGEC as a platform to nurture and inspire young entrepreneurs from various socio-economic backgrounds. It’s an opportunity for these youngsters to experience what entrepreneurship is about, and the great value that lies in it as a powerful vehicle for change in our country,” he notes.

One hundred schools, 4 500 pupils and 300 teachers participated in the 2017 Challenge. To-date, 200 schools have confirmed entry for the upcoming Challenge and more than 15 000 learner participants are expected.

Learner registration opens on 1 July 2018. For more information on how to enter visit www.entrepreneurshipchallenge.co.za. Entry is free and open to any and all learners and schools across the country.

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