CapaCiTi & Allan Gray Makers encourage entrepreneurship

Allan Gray Makers Initiative is a South African programme funded by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Endowment (Endowment). The initiative partnered with CapaCiTi to run a pilot programme that aims to provide transferable entrepreneurial skills and support to youth who are pursuing or are being trained in a technical or vocational trade outside of university.

The Endowment and CapaCiTi are both driven to make an impact on youth unemployment. They seek to improve potential social mobility and provide access to programmes and content that are often prohibitively expensive or inaccessible to candidates from poor socio-economic backgrounds in a meaningful and enriching way.

“When the Endowment approached CapaCiTi to pilot their entrepreneurial development programme with our candidates, we found symmetry in values and delivery methodology,” says CapaCiTi Head of Curriculum, Chanel Oldfield.

Where technical talent meets entrepreneurial spirit

The programme hopes to increase the number of responsible entrepreneurs starting and growing sustainable, responsible businesses in technical or vocational trades.

“Through this, the programme aims to add value to society by creating more meaningful employment opportunities for others, providing value-adding products and services to society and growing the economy,” says programme analyst Tebogo Bore.

She goes on to explain that, “its mission is to reduce poverty and inequality in South Africa by supporting, investing in and increasing the number of responsible entrepreneurs who embody the values and behaviours of ethical leadership and are leveraging their vocational skills for the benefit of society.”

The programme’s pilot participants will be student cohorts at partner training institutions, who are being trained in artisanal (electricians, plumbers, boilermakers etc.) or digital (e.g. coding) trades.

Partnership with CapaCiTi

The Endowment approached CapaCiTi as their inaugural partner institutions. This partnership was formalised in February 2020 and has been the basis for implementing entrepreneurial training to a student cohort, over the next 6 months.

“It made sense for CapaCiTi to provide an opportunity for our candidates to access content that would ignite their entrepreneurial spirit and allow them to learn how to identify inefficiencies and possibly fill those gaps with their own potential and newly learnt tech skills with viable business options.”

All CapaCiTi programmes incorporate a “critical skills for work” component to their curriculum. A part of this curriculum includes goal setting, self-awareness and problem-solving.

“By partnering with the Endowment, we are able to enhance this curriculum by allowing candidates additional ways to explore these skills through action learning and knowledge transfer,” says Chanel.

“We allow the candidates to develop their tech skills through our work simulation methodology and continue to develop their personal skills through exploring our job critical skills content and the entrepreneurship content; ultimately it is an extension of exploratory learning that allows the candidates to have a variety of experiences better equipping them for the world of work.”

Fiona Tabraham, CEO of CapaCiTi, said the Digital Career Accelerator is excited to partner with The Endowment.

“The initiative is a fantastic opportunity that gives our youth the best possible chance of succeeding in their next career move. The South African job landscape is challenging, especially for our youth. We believe that a range of skillsets including employability skills, technical skills and entrepreneurial skills will give them a far greater chance of success.”

The benefits of participating in the programme

There are several benefits to participating in the Allan Gray Makers programme. Some of these include:

  • Exposure and practical access to the world of entrepreneurship
  • Acquiring transferable and critical problem-solving skills that are applicable to a corporate environment or an entrepreneurial career path
  • Personal development through establishing a better understanding of who you are and what drives you, which is beneficial despite the career path you follow
  • The opportunity to be part of a business incubator and life-long entrepreneurial fellowship community to help accelerate and grow one’s business.

The participants also get exposure to a network of established entrepreneurs making an impact in the industry. One of them is Ntsako Mgiba, the CEO and co-founder of Jonga, a Cape Town-based technology company that provides affordable & effective security systems.

Ntsako, who has a big passion for people and technology, shared advice for the early-stage entrepreneurs and encouraged them to think bigger than the product they’re trying to sell.

“The product is just the tip of the iceberg… Fall out of love with your idea and fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve.”