The Junior Entrepreneur Scheme and our partnersEvery1Mobile created a bespoke entrepreneurship training environment using mobile phones. We ran a trial last summer on South Africa’s largest mobile social network, Mxit and our trial was featured on GSMA website.

The trial featured:

  • A 6 chapter course on the basics of starting a business
  • 6 knowledge testing quizzes for each chapter
  • A live Q&A service with business experts based around the world
  • Discussion forums for both aspiring and just-started entrepreneurs

In short, here are the results of the six-week trial, which show the potential impact and commercial value of our programme.

  • 14,885 young people had accessed the programme
  • 26% of users reported an increase in knowledge levels
  • 45% reported an increase in confidence
  • There was a 137% increase of users feeling they had all the support they needed to start their own business
  • There was a 32% decrease in feeling they were unable to support others when it came to starting a business

Read more about the opportunity the Junior Entrepreneur Scheme can offer to your business or NGO. 

Some selected feedback

“Wow! That what i can start by saying because smartBiz has tought me alot that i didn’t think i would ever know.What i can say is thank you for giving us the informations like this.What i would like to say before i close is please do not stop giving us this lectures about businesses,we would like to know more about the business world.thank you keep on doing this marvelouse task you’re doing.”

“Hi guyz.im so happy abt smrtbiz coz i ws so desperate to hv small biz bt i hv lack of infr wher to strt 😀 i dnt hv much capital bt aftr reading abt strt up m realy happy”

“Smartbiz is a grate aplication it help me with my mentality the way i see buissnes is much more balanced”

“SmartBiz is a good service which give us a clue and clear ideas to continue with our dreams of becoming enterpreneurs.”

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Photo Credit: Flickr user  

Update: Read the trial results here.

The Junior Entrepreneur Scheme has launched across a network of eight million users across Africa on an online social network accessed using mobile phones.

As part of a partnership with Every1Mobile, one of Mashable’s top 25 start ups this year, the JES was  re-written and launched online in a six week trial for users who access the course using basic feature-phones on Africa’s most popular mobile social-network, “Mxit”.

Rebranded “smartBiz” to fit with Mxit’s short, abbreviated style of content; young people are able to access the content on their phones, and E1M_Logo_Final-620-x-120study it individually or in groups. With the support of a global network of business “experts”, these young people are put in touch with mentors around the world and given helpful tips on how to run their business using Every1Mobile’s innovative communications platform.ers who access the course using basic feature-phones on Africa’s most popular mobile social-network, “Mxit”.

Currently in its second day online, almost one thousand questions have been posed to our mentors. This initial trial will yield results which we hope will enable us to better adapt the JES content for Mxit and the Mxit audience.

The Junior Entrepreneur Scheme is a programme that combines empowerment with the teaching of technical business skills. Supporting someone through the challenging process of starting a new business is just as important as equipping them with the promotional, financial and strategic skills they need to grow their enterprise.

This initial trial is ground breaking, and has been possible with the kind support of so many. If you are a business mentor and interested in supporting this initiative, please get in touch.

IMG_0791The Junior Entrepreneur Scheme has just launched an exciting new partnership with Every1Mobile, the creators of Africa’s largest mobile social network, “Mxit” and one of Mashable’s 2013 top UK startups. We are creating an online virtual learning environment, where Mxit’s eight million users will have access to materials on how to create a business, and need a network of mentors online who are able to answer Q&A type questions in an online forum for our launch competition at the end of July.

Mxit is specifically tailored to users who are using non-smartphones, the majority of phones in Africa. The content the user sees can be tailored to them, for instance, girls learn about gender differences in business differently to how boys learn it.

The users will be able to interact with each other on an online forum, where they can ask questions about what they are learning, and most importantly, be connected to a global network of business mentors online who can support these young entrepreneurs in their efforts to set up a small business.

Are you would be willing to help support these young entrepreneurs by mentoring for an hour a day on the online-forum for 2-3 weeks in August?

Please contact me on Ramez.Krishnan@gmail.com, and i would be most happy to discuss. I’m happy to promote you/your organisation on this website too!

The Junior Entrepreneur Scheme teaches enterprise and entrepreneurship skills to children and youth. Starting from grade seven upwards (age 12+), participants are both empowered into thinking about career development and goal setting, and also taught technical business skills that give them a strong sense of commercial awareness.

The dual principles of empowerment and education are at the core of the JES.

This two-week course is aimed at students in countries with emerging economies, at migrant communities seeking to integrate into a new country, and at minority ethnic groups. Having the financial independence to have choices in life is lacking within many communities, and economic empowerment is a sustainable solution to such deep rooted social and economic issues. Please see our Case Study to discover how economic empowerment is helping to combat poverty, and the by-products of financial adversity, such as early marriage.

Only through education can a lasting, sustainable emergence from economic adversity be achieved. By empowering young people, a generation of commercially aware and focused individuals will drive their communities towards sustainable prosperity.

The JES was trialled in the Gambia in June 2012, and the alumni of that trial group are now ready to act as tutors of the course, themselves teaching the programme to new participants. The course was trialled with two age groups – the first 11 and 12 year olds (grade 5 and 6) at Latri Kunda Sabiji Lower Basic School, and the second 17-20 year olds (grade 10 and 11) at St Peters High School.

A student at St Peter’s School in Lamin, the Gambia.

Latri Kunda Sabiji

The younger group showed exceptional promise for learning to think out of their comfort zone. During the process of studying the course over 5 intensive sessions, the students showed a great aptitude for working in a more participatory mode than they were used to. Their confidence and also their ability to think creatively showed a drastic improvement during the sessions, and with a little encouragement, even the shyest were contributing openly and freely to class discussions.

In the classroom, students were not used to this form of discussion and practical exercise study mode. Feedback from teachers was positive, particularly regarding the contributions from students and how welcome such education was in the Gambia.

St Peters High School

Students at Latri Kunda Sabiji Lower Basic School, the Gambia

The group of participants at St Peters High were part of an education programme run by Starfish International, an empowerment programme aimed at girls. Some were going through the processes of starting up a business themselves, and a few participants were already sustaining themselves financially. The JES is primarily aimed at a young (Grade 5-7) audiences – this is obvious from the use of large lettering and strong illustrations. However,  the conversations that were had with the older high school students were of a level that was adequate to the more experienced students. This demonstrates the flexibility of the content in being adapted to the age and circumstances of the participants.

The Starfish Girls at St Peters in Lamin are also to become tutors of the booklet themselves with younger students. This sustainability element ensures that organic growth of the programme will also take place without any need for full time teaching staff.

The programme must be implemented in a way that is entirely self-sustainable.

To fund the printing of the course materials and the transportation of tutors to the study groups, students are encouraged to set up their own businesses. This means that the skills they learn are able to be directly put into practice to fund their further education and also the purchase of new booklets. Any surplus funds made will go towards buying resources (such as books) for the school itself. Wherever possible, students are encouraged to contribute to the cost of the books themselves, albeit subsidised.

New trials of the course will soon be taking place elsewhere in Africa and North America.