You know how in Africa it is said that “it takes a village to raise a child”? Sure thing, we can’t fault that. However, rather than sheltering behind “a village” and unidentified groups, let’s shine that spotlight on some of the vital community members that make up that village. It is the parents, family, friends, neighbours, chiefs and leaders – and teachers. It’s time we began fostering a culture of entrepreneurship

The role of teachers in grooming teen entrepreneurs

The reality is that for many children, few people – other than teachers – have their captive attention for so many hours in a day. Unlike a family coming together to share supper and chit-chatting on their phones before dozing off, teachers spend hours strategically engaging with children daily. They are positioned as catalysts to influence impressionable minds and can plant seeds of entrepreneurship in these children that will outlive them and the generations to come.

Champion teachers lead by example

Not all teachers are equal. Some teachers do the needful to justify a salary, and then there are those who are “called” to teach.

They are the ones who dare to transform a shy, poor learner into a teen boss. They are the ones who raise entrepreneurs even when no one is watching. They lead by example. It does not matter where they are stationed; they see potential and instil hope in learners. They see what the children don’t see.

Examples of teachers walking the talk

As William Arthur Ward put it: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

Rather than sitting ringside, quoting textbooks, some teachers have stepped into the boxing ring to show learners how it can be done.

Here are three teachers who led by example. They took up the entrepreneurial spirit and made it work. They serve as practical examples that indeed, entrepreneurs can rise from all walks of life.

  1. Byju Raveendran, founded the eponymous education app BYJU’s – The Learning App. Did we mention that his startup was valued at $5.7 billion (about R83 billion)?
  2. Shashi Nangia, a former teacher, started Swati Exim, a clothing export business. She recorded such astronomical export growth that she received the Ratan Shiromani Award from the President of India in 1994.
  3. Kiran Bir Sethi, is a designer-turned-teacher who brought such innovation into teaching that she was awarded many awards, including the Lego Foundation’s “Reimagine Learning Challenge Champion” in 2014 and Commonwealth Education Good Practice award in 2015. She was also nominated for the Global Teacher Prize by the Varkey Foundation in 2015.

Action! “Teaching” Entrepreneurship

According to Rob Ryan, described by many as the “entrepreneurial wunderkind” who grew his startup, Ascend, to a point where he sold it to Lucent Technologies for approximately S20 billion (about R291.5 billion) in 1999, these six steps can help to transfer or teach entrepreneurship successfully.

  1. Identify your core competencies
  2. Work on the matrix modelling process which pretty much has to do with revenue petals
  3. Conduct a revenue petal walkabout
  4. Clarify your matrix (figure out what works and doesn’t and refine it)
  5. Establish a suffocation strategy (to choke up your competition through buying them out, patents and so forth)
  6. Come up with a plan, goals, strategy and steps that will lead you to a successful, transformational, can’t-beat company

In case that sounds great, but is a bit high level, no sweat. That’s where champion teachers come in to simplify things, guide aspiring learners and hold them by the hand while imparting knowledge.

If you have a passion for teaching and want to see communities transformed, then you should sign up to become a champion teacher! Society is counting on you.