Can Entrepreneurship be taught?

Whether entrepreneurship can be taught was the question seven employees from the INGO Educat were asked last week on April 20th, 2011. Educat, a Danish INGO located in Kigali, offers training and education in entrepreneurship.“We could have discussed this in a meeting, but we wanted to give our employees a hands-on experience. Force them to identify opportunities, create results from limited means, think creatively and work together.
The ‘Kids Olympic’ was an exercise that built teamwork.
The ‘Kids Olympic’ was an exercise that built teamwork.

Whether entrepreneurship can be taught was the question seven employees from the INGO Educat were asked last week on April 20th, 2011. Educat, a Danish INGO located in Kigali, offers training and education in entrepreneurship.

“We could have discussed this in a meeting, but we wanted to give our employees a hands-on experience. Force them to identify opportunities, create results from limited means, think creatively and work together.

Four key competencies of a good entrepreneur,” says Mikkel Harder, Head of Operations in Educat.
Therefore all employees were asked to be entrepreneurial themselves.

With a time frame of only nine hours and very little means (Rwf5000 in cash and 20 eggs) they were asked to make three happenings for at least 30 children each.

The happening should give the children both a positive experience and also teach them something.

Children at Nyamirambo Market were asked to bring out their inner artist.

Together with the employees of Educat, they created a Market Dictionary where each child painted a fruit or vegetable or any other object that can be found at the market.

Afterwards they wrote both the Kinyarwanda and the English word for the object.

Many children gathered around the canvas and had a good time painting and translating the things they work with every day. The painting will be put up at the market.

In Gahanga Orphanage, just outside Kigali, children participated in a “Kids Olympics”. Around 20 children split up into three teams who participated in the event.

In pairs, they competed in three different disciplines. One discipline was for the couple to tie their legs together and run to the finish line.

With some stumbling and laughing, they all made it. All disciplines supported cooperation between the children and ensured teamwork focus.

The main purpose of the “Kids Olympics” day was to enhance creativity,have fun and enjoy their time together. Unfortunately, the Olympics were cancelled half way through because of the rain, nevertheless dancing and singing continued inside.

Another bunch of kids, roaming around in Nyamirambo, were gathered at the basketball court. They were asked to mention three things they liked, three things they didn’t like and thereafter, discuss as a group on how they could improve the bad things about their lives.

“It was really hard listening to their daily challenges, which was sleeping on the street or having no food. We cannot support each individual so our focus was to open up a discussion about how they themselves can change their lives and reach their dream,” says Maria Landström, Training Coordinator at Educat.
 
A generous young boy offered to share some of his clothes with another who had none while another group of kids agreed not to fight anymore.

The aim of trying to turn the table and make the children and adolescences clarify the good and bad in their life, while thinking about how they could improve it together, hopefully made an impact.

The workshop was positively received among the participants and with a follow-up plan, more solid solutions can be found for these children.
 
The day turned out to be an interesting experience for everybody involved. The three different ways of encouraging entrepreneurship all reflected a general wish to trigger new learning processes.

Part of Educat’s main goals is to ensure that solutions are provided in context of a situation.

The engagement of the children involved in all three events was impressive, and it was very interesting to see how small, unexpected changes in their everyday lives created something fun and meaningful for the afternoon.

It was amazing to see how much learning combined with joy you can create for only a few means and so little time.
While painting at the market with the kids, as many new words in Kinyarwanda and English were learnt by non-Rwandans and Rwandans respectively as they interacted.

Furthermore, Educat employees learned a lot about themselves and this enabled their own entrepreneurial mindsets to expand – which really came into play during the day.

At the end of the day, the experience was good for both an organisation working with entrepreneurship development and for the individuals they interacted with at community level.

maja@educat.dk

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