The mammoth unemployment rate in South Africa emphasises the serious need to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in our schools – enter Scooler | The School Entrepreneur Movement who is challenging government and businesses to stop talking about unemployment and commit to creating an entrepreneurial spirit in our schools.
The company’s purpose is to draw Grade 8 to Grade 12 students from across the country and from all walks of life into the School Entrepreneur Movement by making them aware of what entrepreneurship is about and to create and inspire them to shape their own futures by exploring an alternative to mainstream tertiary education.
As early as Grade 8, high-school students are being called upon to make monumental decisions as to their future and career but with the current state of employment in South Africa, limited opportunities make for much tougher choices. Typically, the options for school-leavers are to study, travel or take a gap year, but more and more youngsters are looking to be their own bosses and to shape their own destinies.
But, as the founder of Scooler, Leon Lategan, points out: “We have found a serious lack of information available to students at school around the subject of entrepreneurship, resulting in very few of them exploring this avenue after school.” He adds that statistics reveal grim prospects for school-leavers – 49% of students with Grade 12 and 23.3% with a tertiary education will not find jobs.
One also has to consider the extremely high unemployment rate of 5.98 million in South Africa, the excessive drop-out rates at universities – in 2017 alone, after 4 years studying at University the completion rate was only 36%, and at schools 533 491 students dropped out before reaching Grade 12! The prohibitive cost of tuition is also cause for concern where students can expect to pay no less than R120k for a three year degree, and that excludes living expenses and accommodation, not to mention the fact that more than 50% of students applying to get into university will not be accepted due to limited space. And, just to add salt to the wound there is the threat of automation, artificial intelligence and robotics to vie with too.
Scooler provides a platform for students at school to start asking vital questions and exploring entrepreneurial alternatives. On the website and via their social media platforms, students have access to valuable information about how to run a business; how to secure funding for their business; connection to like-minded youth and exposure of their existing school businesses / money making initiatives to the community, corporates and investors.
In order to create awareness about Scooler | The School Entrepreneur Movement, The R100k Scooler Clash was launched on Thursday, 23 August, calling on all Grade 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s and 12s to enter for free and battle it out to win R100 000 for the best existing business / money making initiative currently run by a student at school. The winner will receive a R50 000 cash prize and R50 000 worth of mentoring, coaching, advertising and social media exposure for their business. All the submitted businesses will be profiled on the Scooler website where friends, family and the Scooler community get to vote for who they believe is the best entrepreneur running the best business at school. Four runner ups will each also receive R10 000 worth of coaching for their businesses.
Self-confessed university drop-out Lategan says, “I was never exposed to the idea of entrepreneurship and yet my career path shifted into just that. I went to university, failed a Bachelor of Business Science/Marketing degree and today !I am an International Speaker and Consultant on the subject of Marketing, without any qualifications, crazy isn’t it?.” He adds that he was also deeply concerned at seeing South Africa’s unemployment rate rocket from 1.6 mil to 5.98 million since 1995, with predictions of over 6 million in 2019, and was moved to step up and stop waiting on government and business to take action by launching Scooler, to create and inspire an entrepreneurial spirit in our schools.