Fairmount Secondary pupils show off their business skills

Ridewaan Salie, Amy Philander, Neveah Sauls, retired principal Terrance Klassen, Given Davids, Latiefa Ismail and educator Zaitoon Emjedi. The four pupils won the Western Cape Provincial JASA Entrepreneurship Company of the Year competition.

The Grade 10 and 11 pupils of Fairmount Secondary School got to experience what it is like to run their own business and now some of their classmates will be representing the province in an entrepreneurial competition.

The pupils were shortlisted and given the opportunity to present their businesses in a virtual presentation to the judges of the Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) and the Entrepreneurial Plus Programme, a business entrepreneurship training initiative of Junior Achievement Worldwide, which is one of the largest business education organisations in the world that operates in over 121 countries.

Fairmount Secondary won the provincial competition and two representatives of the winning company will be flying to Johannesburg in October in order to present their business to the JASA team and sponsors with all expenses covered by JASA.

The results were announced on Monday September 4 to the excitement of pupils, parents and teachers, who were all blown away by the positive feedback and outcome.

School project co-ordinator Ridewaan Salie said the competition was a big opportunity to showcase student talent and initiative to ensure that they have options after matric.

“We’re showing them that they don’t only have to depend on the government and existing businesses to give them a job but that they can start their own business. We need to produce our own Raymond Ackermans, Johan Ruperts, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Musks.”

Latiefa Ismail, acting deputy principal Ridewaan Salie and Given Davids.

The course, run over 28 weeks, covers the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and the different steps, processes and guidelines for running a successful business, including what leadership truly means and product conceptualisation and design.

Pupils were split into individual groups and each group started their own business with the various roles of management split between them. Of the 10 groups who participated in the competition, the project “Unwined” won for their innovative and functional charger cable protector design.

Not only will each groups’ projects soon be made available to the local communities, students have been hard at work pulling together fund-raisers for their work.

“We’re teaching the children to plough back into their communities and into society, by having a social investment component added to the business” said Mr Salie.

All learners will be graduating with a certificate for their participation but the goal is to give them the necessary skills to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Zaida Julius and her son, Zayd, were the JASA entrepreneurship course facilitators. She said it is absolutely vital that programmes like these are introduced at schools: “Pupils get a hands-on approach and guide to business finances and operations, where they get to experience the challenges, conflict, structure, and feeling of how to run a business successfully.”

Latiefa Ismail, CEO of Unwined, said the competition opened her mind to more business opportunities: “I thought it would be difficult and it does get hard but we learnt that it is possible. We made our own products and got the full business experience”.

Ms Julius added that pupils of the winning business did exceptionally well and showed tenacity to achieve their goals against all the current challenges.

“I am very proud of all 10 companies who participated but the Unwined learners really went the extra mile and deserve the title of being the Western Cape’s JASA Company of the Year winner,” said Ms Julius.

Fairmount Secondary’s retired principal Terence Klassen said the school will do all they can to assist the team in winning the national competition.

“On behalf of the winning company, our pupils, parents and staff at Fairmount want to extend our immense gratitude towards Ms Julius and her son for being the mentors, coaches and trainers of this amazing opportunity.

“Also best of luck to Latifea and Given, who will be representing the Western Cape next month in the Company of the Year National competition in Johannesburg.”

The winner of the national competition will be flying to Rwanda for the international competition and event.