Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge

Verity Sharp

Schools are being invited to take part in the 2013 Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge.

The Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge (CSEC) – a business competition for school students – is an example of Commonwealth civil society putting words into action. The CSEC asks students to start an environmentally friendly enterprise that will solve a problem in their local community. Open to students of all ages, the competition challenges entrants to write and implement a business plan for a socially-minded, environmentally friendly enterprise, generating income either for their school or a cause of their choosing.

The competition was established by the UK charity Teach A Man To Fish, which uses profit-making school-run businesses to teach entrepreneurship and livelihood skills. Having already motivated more than 800 schools to set up their own school-based enterprises, the competition will now use the Commonwealth’s unique networks, shared history and language to increase the number of participating schools through partners Ashoka and the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS). The RCS, the largest civil society organisation in the Commonwealth, will encourage schools from each of the 54 nation states of the Commonwealth to take part. Ashoka, a global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, will mentor participating schools.

The Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge will prepare young people for the world of work by converting academic understanding into practical experience through enterprise education. The competition also offers prizes of up to $5,000 for the best business plans, businesses, teachers and students.

Having scooped the top prize in 2011, Indeco Community School in Zambia said that winning had done wonders for its morale and belief in the enterprise. “It has and will benefit the business massively in terms of financial security and potential to expand,” said a spokesperson for the school. True to its word, Indeco Community School invested $16,000 of the profits gained from tailoring enterprise into a new chicken rearing business, generating $28,000. The school is planning to use these profits for a new building for their students.

Schools across the Commonwealth are now being invited to follow in Indeco’s Community School’s footsteps. By signing up to the Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge, teachers are investing in their pupils, schools and communities and will become part of a global community.

About the author:

Verity Sharp is programmes officer at the Royal Commonwealth Society


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