The lucky winners

Durban - Shriyaa Sooklal, from Maris Stella High School in KwaZulu-Natal, has been crowned the champion of SA’s leading digital learning challenge – the Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge (AGEC), conceptualised specifically to develop the minds of young would-be entrepreneurs and coach them on how best to think like entrepreneurs.

The Challenge was designed to develop a culture of entrepreneurship in the minds of grades 8-12 using digital learning and gamification. Currently in its second year, the Challenge seeks to inspire pupils on how to influence change in their community, their country and the world. pupils were required to complete weekly micro-challenges that further exposed them to a variety of entrepreneurial skills, which were then applied to real-world scenarios. During weeks one to three, pupils began their entrepreneurial journey by exploring local challenges and opportunities in the areas of social entrepreneurship, transportation and healthcare. In weeks four to six the competition shifted focus to global themes of climate change, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. Last night’s event wrapped-up six weeks of inter-school and inter-pupil participation across the country.

According to Anthony Selley, AGEC’s Head of Gameplay, entry participation doubled for the 2018 season, from 4 000 in 2017 to more than 8 000 in 2018. In addition, more than 600 schools across the country participated in this year’s Challenge.
“We are incredibly proud of every participant, and for the second consecutive year this Challenge proved that web-based experimental learning is an effective way to foster a culture of entrepreneurship among our country’s young folk,” he said.

The AGEC top five candidates include:

·         1st place: Shriyaa Sooklal – Maris Stella High School

·         2nd place: Sara Gopel – Riebeek College Girls High School

·         3rd place: Saheel Rajnarain – Crawford College

·         4th place: Kai Parsons – Cedar House School

·         5th place: Tahir Omar Carrim – Sutherland High School

Selley says the Challenge seeks to directly address the country’s alarming levels of unemployment using entrepreneurship as the main vehicle for change. The competition focussed on developing five overarching ‘habits of thought’, identified through academic research as key components of an entrepreneurial mindset. These include: intellectual imagination (innovation); personal initiative (initiative); courageous commitment (resilience); spirit of significance (change maker) and achievement excellence (drive).

Generation Schools Hermanus is the challenge’s top performing school with Glenwood House in second place, followed by Maris Stella, Kloof High School, Somerset College, in third, fourth and fifth place respectively.

“It’s been a phenomenal season, candidates have demonstrated impeccable skill and they’ve proved that they have what it takes to think like entrepreneurs. The success of this year’s event means we’re already in planning phase for a bigger and better 2019 season,” Selley said.