2018 marked the 17th year that the country’s learners put their business acumen to the test thanks to the Business Development Games, a school initiative brought to learners by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and Coronation.
The games, which are played using the world-renowned Commercium board game, sees participating schools competing against each other as their learners tackle real-world business situations to make the most money for their businesses. In assuming responsibility for the kinds of decisions business leaders have to make on a daily basis, which includes making choices about how outside influences such as tax, inflation, exchange rates, etc. impact business, learners have to put their team work, leadership, numeracy, strategic thinking and ethical skills to the test to show that they have what it takes to boom in the business world.
‘For young people to realise their full entrepreneurial potential and contribute to the greater economy, companies must be active in moulding their talent, skills and ideas from a young age. This is why SAICA and Coronation invite over 1 000 learners from around the country to participate in the games every year,’ says Gugu Makhanya, SAICA’s Senior Executive: Transformation & Growth.
This year, the following 11 schools were chosen* to participate in the Eastern Cape’s leg of the games which took place at Walter Sisulu University’s Zamukulungisa Hall in Mthatha:
- Holy Cross High School, which won 1st place
- Umtata High School, which won 2nd place
- Khanyisa High School, which won 3rd place
- Umtata Technical College
- Zingisa Comprehensive High School
- Dalindyebo Senior Secondary School
- Zimele High School
- Excelsior Comprehensive School
- Kings Commercial College
- Holly Cross Education Centre Kiddieland
- St Johns College
- Nozuko Senior Secondary School
Commenting on why the games are such an important part of SAICA’s annual school projects, Gugu Makhanya, SAICA’s Senior Executive: Transformation & Growth, explains: ‘With youth unemployment in the country standing at 38.8%, SAICA uses this, and other projects, to nurture the next generation of job creators by sparking their entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. By showing learners that there is more than one way to contribute to the economy once they leave school, SAICA wants to upskill learners who want to become business owners, as many of those who study towards becoming a chartered accountant do so with the goal of owning their own business one day.’
Adds Coronation CEO Anton Pillay: ‘We believe that the most important thing that we as a company and a country can do right now is provide hope to our youth – that they can be adequately educated, opening up more opportunities in life. With initiatives like the Business Development Games, we empower learners with the right skills and experiences in preparation for when they make the leap into the real world. With such a high youth unemployment rate, supporting learners in this way is critical to helping them rise above the challenges they face when they leave school, giving them the best chance of success.’
Makhanya concludes by lauding the efforts of all the participants with the following word of congratulations to the school who earned the province’s top spot: ‘SAICA would like all the learners to know what a great achievement it is to be chosen to take part in the games. It shows that you are a top achiever when it comes to mathematics, an essential gateway subject no matter what you want to study and a vital skill for anyone who wishes to be an entrepreneur when they leave school. To the learners from the winning school, well done on proving just how well you understand the link between financial decision making and ethical business acumen, it will help you make your future businesses successful one day. We can’t wait to see what you do with your lives once you matriculate and enter the business world.’
* Editor’s note: Participating schools are selected by SAICA together with guidance from the provincial departments of education. Learners are then selected by their educators based on academic performance where, among others, they have to achieve a minimum of 60% in mathematics to be eligible to enter the games.
About SAICA SAICA, South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 46 000 members and associates who are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)], as well as associate general accountants (AGAs(SA)) and accounting technicians (ATs(SA)), who hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in every sphere of commerce and industry, and who play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development.
About the Thuthuka Bursary Fund and Education Upliftment Project: One of SAICA’s prime goals is to contribute towards strengthening the country’s economy by playing a significant and leading role in transformation and skills development. The Thuthuka Education Upliftment Project, a pioneering initiative to promote transformation in the profession, was launched in the Eastern Cape in 2002 and has grown into a national project.
Thuthuka’s objective is to transform the demographics of the profession to reflect those of the country in terms of race and gender, and provide educational support to African learners and students for the benefit of the profession, while simultaneously helping to uplift communities. Therefore, SAICA prides itself in leading the chartered accountancy profession as a socially responsible driver of business and skills development by supporting and encouraging enterprise development initiatives.
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