In the past month, the MEC for Education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi announced the opening of PACE School for Entrepreneurship in Finance, Hospitality and Tourism beginning from Grade 8. This has seen a resurgence of the debate as to whether entrepreneurship should formally be included in the curriculum after Basic Education Minister Angie Motsheka introduced coding and robotics starting in Grade R from January 2020, among other new vocational streams. Here are five youth entrepreneurship programmes that are supporting entrepreneurship education from an early age and are setting the standard of best practice in planting and nurturing the seeds of entrepreneurial thinking and action:

Ice House Programme
Inspired by the book, Who owns the Ice House written by Clifton Taulbert who imparted to his nephew eight life lesson from an unlikely, but real world entrepreneur. The programme is founded on the entrepreneurial mindset by the co-author of the book, Gary Schoeniger. Delivered from high school age and up, the programme is done in a blended method using both face-to-face interactions and digital modules.

As one of the cornerstone channels of learning for The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, Schoeniger commented at a recent presentation in Sandton, “everyone is born a natural problem solver and entrepreneur, it is only through inactivity and conformity, do we lose those abilities.”

The Ice House Programme is available worldwide and has been presented to the United Nations General Assembly, the Papal Council on Peace and Justice at the Vatican and the European Commission.

Babson Youth Impact Lab
The high school-based project is focused on creating entrepreneurial action in young leaders in order to create large scale social and economic impact. Established in 1919, the college based in Massachusetts, USA, has been a forerunner in formalising entrepreneurship education into the lives of young people across the United States and beyond.

The college not only focus on youth development but extend their reach into schools by empowering educators through professional development in entrepreneurial teaching methodologies and provide support using an online web portal where educators can collaborate and share ideas.

The culmination of their ACTIVATE programme results in students being invited to pitch for up to $100 000 from the Cummings Foundation which provides seed funding for these entrepreneurs to use in getting their ideas off the ground.

Youth Start Programme
Run in four European countries and now forming part of the curriculum at the aforementioned PACE School, the Youth Start Programme has been running since 2015 and is one of the few entrepreneurship programmes that extend below high school age into primary school years.

175 Schools have participated across Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal and Solvenia with 1 254 educators taking part, the aim of which is to increase entrepreneurial intention from an early age in order to create an entrepreneurial culture that reaches further than just the students, but is taken home to parents and even seeps into communities.

Educators are trained in entrepreneurial pedagogic methods to deliver experiential entrepreneurial lessons and challenges to children from as young as eight-years-old and is currently available in downloadable format in six languages, including English. The programme can be implemented using the handbook but does require an educator’s eye for deep impact.

The Kaufman Foundation
Founded by Ewing Marion Kaufman on the philosophy that every human has the opportunity to be uncommon and take risks to achieve success, the foundation is a global leader in entrepreneurship education among youth.

Based out of Kansa City, the focus of the foundation is to increase the amount of entrepreneurs active in the US Economy. While focusing internally in the United States, the amount of extensive research conducted into entrepreneurial activities and generating best practice models for education is applied around the world. Their Capital Access Lab has been hailed as one of the benchmarks of startup incubation aimed at redressing the access to new venture capital by marginalised communities due to race, gender, ethnicity or geography.

When it comes to world-class research and data, the Kaufman Foundation produces some of the most valuable insights into entrepreneurship education practices and are considered one of the key contributors in influencing the policies towards entrepreneurial development not just in the US, but around the world.

Founded by the Meltwater Foundation in 2008, MEST operated in four African cities: Cape Town, Accra, Nairobi and Lagos where young software entrepreneurs can hone their talents and abilities through a fully sponsored intensive 12-month programme and are taken to market with the help of hands-on support and seed funding.

The practical application elements are handled by active entrepreneurs across a range of stakeholders, being investors, corporate partners and experienced entrepreneurs which not only broadens the skills base of the members on the programme but develop one of the key pillars of a successful startup venture, being a meaningful network of people.

Covering topics like financing, business modelling and the all-important lean startup methodology coined by Eric Ries, the programme focuses exclusively on building the next generation of scalable software businesses with the primary objective being to unlock Africa’s talented youth by providing opportunities for them to identify themselves.