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Eskom: Simama Ranta High School Entrepreneurship Education Competition

simamarantaThe Simama Ranta competition is aimed at identifying and rewarding South African secondary schools that are exemplars and leading the way in entrepreneurship education. The Eskom Foundation believes that one of the best ways to curb underdevelopment in our communities is to teach the youth, at school level, to consider entrepreneurship as a viablecareer choice. Instead of studying to be job seekers, they should learn the skills to start and run successful businesses and in so doing, become job creators.


 ESKOM initiated “ESKOM Simama Ranta” in 2010, with the 9th event taking place in 2018. ESKOM Executes “Simama Ranta” in collaboration with its nonprofit partner Education With Enterprise Trust (EWET) ESKOM supported the development of EWET’s comprehensive in-school entrepreneurship education (EE) approach which consists of extra-mural Youth Enterprise Society (YES) clubs, Learning and Teaching Support Materials (LTSM) for in-classroom utilization and the Simama Ranta competitive events. The national footprint that the delivery of EE achieved since 1996 in terms of intermediate and secondary schools that delivered EE, created the platform for “ESKOM Simama Ranta” to be initiated in 2010.

The name “Eskom’s Simama Ranta EE” translates to: Eskom strengthening (Simama) the South African economy (Ranta) through effective in-school entrepreneurship education (EE) for our youth.

The Simama Ranta competition is aimed at identifying and rewarding South African secondary schools that are exemplars and leading the way in entrepreneurship education. The Eskom Foundation believes that one of the best ways to curb underdevelopment in our communities is to teach the youth, at school level, to consider entrepreneurship as a viablecareer choice. Instead of studying to be job seekers, they should learn the skills to start and run successful businesses and in so doing, become job creators.

Project Challenges

South Africa has a large youth population caught up in poverty and lack of access to opportunity. A high unemployment rate amongst the youth as well as lack of opportunity to engage meaningfully within their societies creates frustration that leads to instability. South African youth gave themselves poor ratings within the “Personal Wellbeing Index.” Little doubt exist, as repeatedly confirmed by various research studies (Centre for Development and Enterprise, Human Science Research Council, South African Institute of Race Relations, to name a few) that red flags are waving for South Africa on this challenge. The challenge is to engage young people already at school with economic activity that will develop shared ownership, as well as to engage them within society. Entrepreneurship represents such an approach that enables young people to help themselves.

ESKOM Simama Ranta is being based upon the impact that intermediate and secondary schools achieve through the effective delivery of in-school entrepreneurship education throughout the year and throughout the country. Schools capture such impact within a Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) responsive to the 11 principles of good practice in EE, which they submit as their entry into ESKOM Simama Ranta. Each year a provincial winner, first runner-up and second runner-up are being selected from amongst the entries received from each of South Africa’s nine provinces. A national winning school is being selected from amongst the provincial winning schools. The national winning school becomes known as “National Entrepreneurship Education School” (NEES) while provincial winning schools become known as “Provincial Entrepreneurship Education School” (PEES) whose task it is to advance effective entrepreneurship education within other schools to prepare them for entry into ESKOM Simama Ranta.

These 28 schools also participate within the national awards function and participate within the three day YESRE (Youth Enterprise Simama Ranta Expo). A best Teacher in the provision of in-school entrepreneurship education is also being selected. Each school mounts an exhibition of their products and services at the expo, while the 28 winning schools jointly present workshops to train visiting schools on best practices towards the delivery of in-school entrepreneurship education. Each winning school receives venture capital investment amounts for learner ventures for which each winning school submit a budget as well as a financial report on completion. This information contains the summarized annual life cycle of the ESKOM Simama Ranta initiative.


ESKOM’s social partner is EWET, while ESKOM Simama Ranta includes Department of Basic Education (DBE) representatives. Provincial representatives from the Department of Education (DoE), the districts, and representatives from a large number of schools including teachers and learners all execute dedicated hard work. Local and district governments engage and co-host the provincial awards functions in recognition of excellence towards the provision of in-school entrepreneurship education. Local business people within the school’s community engage in the assessments of learner entrepreneurial competence while they also give guidance and advice. ESKOM’s provincial commercial representatives also engage with these schools. Other agencies that support the servicing of schools through EWET include the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, The European Union and Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment & Tourism (LEDET).


Each and every Portfolio of Evidence entry submitted by schools responds to with the social outcomes embedded within what we term, “the 11 principles of good practice.” The provincial winning schools also present their entry to a national panel which consist of national and provincial DBE representatives.

The eleven principles of good practice that form the foundation of ESKOM Simama Ranta are:

  1. a clear definition of entrepreneurship that is inclusive of thinking, feeling and doing is in practice amongst all at the school;
  2. good quality entrepreneurship syllabi content are being used within the classroom across a range of subjects as it fits with the National Curriculum Statement of the particular subject;
  3. teachers involved in the delivery of entrepreneurship education follow innovative approaches to teaching, aligned with facilitation;
  4. continuous teacher development takes place in the field of entrepreneurship education;
  5. in-the-classroom entrepreneurship education theory is linked to the practice thereof with extra-mural activities;
  6. members of the community and relevant stakeholders are involved within the development of the entrepreneurial abilities of learners which manifest itself within a “culture of entrepreneurship” within the school’s community;
  7. clearly defined aims and objectives to be attained by the school with entrepreneurship education directs efforts, serve as measurement for progress attained and determine new strategies;
  8. learner initiated and learner lead entrepreneurship education projects secure support from the school in a manner that enhances the self-motivation of involved learners;
  9. co-ownership of entrepreneurship education within the school is illustrated through joint action that involve teaching and administrative staff, management, the School Governing Body, the district offices and provincial offices of the Department of Education;
  10. the learners of the school receive exposure to career options open to entrepreneurs through promotional activities based within the approach to entrepreneurship education;
  11. schools use effective outreach and networking strategies as an integral part of its provision of entrepreneurship education.

All schools assist and support local community projects as well as celebrate important days with them. Learners identify needy families and vulnerable learners in their schools and donate some food, clothes and school uniform to them. They also volunteered their 67 minutes of their time during the Nelson Mandela Day to visit these needy families/ Old Age Homes/Centers for people with disabilities and clean their homes and wash their clothes.

Simama R Prizes Harrismith LRG 203

Project beneficiaries

Business ventures by the schools are:

Engineering: Maggaliesburg State School is allowing their YES members to be innovative and creative. Learners from across all subjects are part of this initiative and they ventured into engineering producing power station tower & electrical car.

Innovative and creative projects: Sound booster project by Sephokong Intermediate School and Eco lighters project by Bankhara Bodulong High School.

 Knitting: Thengwe High school, Ikakanyeng High, Bankhara Bodulong, Ipopeng High, Mpambani Mzimba, Ndlela, Aquadene are focusing more on knitting scarves, blankets, beanies and placemats. They sell and donate their products to their needy/deserving students or local charity organizations.

 Welding: Tong Comprehensive HighSchool is developing learners with welding skills and their project is doing well and they are now selling their products e.g. braai stands, flower stands to the community.

 Handmade jewelers: Rondebult High, Aquadene High, Windermere High, Rutasetjhaba High,

 Recycling: Environmental consciousness -Pentecost Genius, Ndlela High, Rondebult High, Ikakanyeng High, Rutasetjhaba High, Paarlzicht Primary, and Bankhara-Bodulong High Schools -learners are heeding the call for taking responsibility for their environment.

 Vegetable gardens: The following schools viz. Selelekela Senior Secondary, Mpambani Mzimba High, Mabhentseni High, Paarlzicht Primary, Mudimeli High, Bakutswe High, Amazulu High, Bankhara Bodulong High.

Schools are involved in vegetable garden projects because of poverty and high unemployment rates in their areas. Some of them have received assistance from the Department of Agriculture for their gardens. Needy learners and disadvantaged families are benefiting from food parcels and the harvest from the vegetable gardening projects .Some schools are contributing to schools’ feeding scheme project. Community members in many areas are assisting learners by imparting skills and knowledge.

 Sewing: Rondebult High, Mudimeli High, Selelekela High, Mpambani Mzimba High, Bankhara-Bodulong High, Usasazo High, Rutasetjhaba High. Schools are now sewing items like graduation gowns, ironing board covers, bow ties, pegs bags, hand bags and traditional dresses.

 Woodworking: Intsebenziswano High, Sjambok Primary, Ikakanyeng High, Bankhara Bodulong High, Usasazo High &Tong Comprehensive are aggressively empowering their YES members with woodworking skills. Their main products are flower pots, ornaments, garden furniture, patio tables & chairs.

 Baking & sweet making: Bankhara-Bodulong High, Selelekela Senior Secondary & Pentecost Genius. Schools are teaching their learners about food. Their main clients are their peers, teachers, churches & community members.

Market days/Entrepreneurship days: Entrepreneurship day is part of the Curriculum in schools. It’s a requirement from the DBE that All BCM subject’s learners must be given a platform where they can practically apply the theory that was taught in the classroom. They all host market/Entrepreneurship days where they sell their products. They then reinvest profits back into their businesses or donate them to their schools.

 Beadwork: Thengwe High, Aquadene High, Mpambani Mzimba High,Ikhandlela High, Windermere High, Birdswood High. Participants from these schools made beaded bangles, earrings, necklaces, beaded scarves, beaded takkies & photo frames.

Art & crafts: Ikakanyeng High, Windermere, Mabhentseni J.S, Magaliesburg State, Usasazo High, Intsebenziswano High.

Project Growth

In 2010 ESKOM Simama Ranta issued a challenge to solicit entries from intermediate and secondary schools so that a winning school could be selected for each province. Frome these a National winner would be selected. Nine schools won in 2010. By 2018, that number had grown to twenty eight schools.

The coverage areas were as follows:

Eastern Cape (EC): 24 Districts, i.e. Chris Hani, King Williams Town, Fort Beaufort, Sterkspruit, Butterworth, Bizana, Cofimvaba, Cradock, Idutywa, Lusikisiki, East London, Graff Reinet, Grahams Town, Lady Frere, Libode, Maluti, Mount Frere, Mount Fletcher, Umtata, Ngcobo, Port Elizabeth, Queenstown, Qumbu and Uitenhage districts, 400 schools were reached. Free State (FS): 5 Districts i.e. Fezile Dabi; Thabo Mofutsanyana, Lejweleputswa, Motheo and Xhariep districts, 670 schools were reached.

Gauteng (GP): 5 Districts i.e. Johannesburg North, Sedibeng West, Ekurhuleni North, Ekurhuleni South and Tshwane districts, 520 schools were reached.

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN): 5 Districts i.e. Pinetown, UThukela, Uthungulu, UKhahlamba and  Hlabisa districts, 590 schools were reached.

Limpopo (L): 6 Districts i.e. Vhembe, Mokgalakwena, Capricon, Mopani, Waterberg and Greater Sekhukhune districts, 480 schools were reached.

Mpumalanga (MP): 4 Districts i.e. Nkangala, Gert Sibande, Bohlabela and Ehlanzeni districts, 200 schools were reached.

Northern Cape (NC): 3 Districts i.e. John Taolo Gaetsewe, Pixley Ka Seeme and Frances Baard, 300 schools were reached.

North West (NW): 5 Districts i.e. Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Bojanala, Ngaka

Modiri Molema, Taung and Dr Kenneth Kaunda districts, 300 schools were reached.

Western Cape (WC): 5 Districts i.e. Cape Winelands, Metropole East, Metropole North, Metro North and Central districts, 340 schools were reached.

Total number of 3800 schools and 62 districts were reached.

Challenges and successes

A major challenge had been the low base in terms of schools who knows what in-school entrepreneurship education is and who are able to practice it. The scaling approach utilized by ESKOM Simama Ranta as demonstrated above, shows how this low based shifted into a national footprint that is ever expanding. What is critical to understand is that the eleven principles on which ESKOM Simama Ranta is being based apply to the whole school inclusive of all of the learners. The implication is that through the 3 800 schools referred to above millions of learners could potentially be reached. The aim is to establish a culture of entrepreneurship amongst learners within South African schools. With an estimated 12 000 secondary schools out of a total of 27 000 schools there is still a long way to go! In short, South Africa has got a low knowledge and skills base as far as in-school entrepreneurship education is concerned which ESKOM Simama Ranta is working on to change. For example, in-school entrepreneurial education pursues long term impact to be determined through longitudinal follow-up research and initial business failure represents part of the entrepreneurial learning process. These two dynamics seems to be difficult to grasp amongst people unfamiliar with in-school entrepreneurial education.

Beneficiary ability and competence to unpack the ESKOM Simama Ranta programme in terms of what it consist of in the practical context of its logic towards impact being attained represents one of the benefits of 9 years of delivery. This dimension is being further enhanced through an annual platform being provided for teachers and learners representative of the 28 winning schools to learn from each other and to orientate visiting schools on in-school entrepreneurial education at the 3 day “Simama Ranta” expo’s workshops. The initial formation of Professional Learning Communities from amongst teachers on in-school entrepreneurial education evolved over the past 9 years of such workshops. The dissemination of such a platform for Professional Learning Communities to also function at provincial, district and village or town or city levels will enhance the ability of the impact of in-school entrepreneurial education on scale.

Going Forward

A reflection on the scale achieved through ESKOM Simama Ranta within a relatively short space of time suggest that the potential exist for the national event to be preceded by similar provincial events and maybe further down the road, to district level. ESKOM Simama Ranta now represents a solid platform, which potentially could engage a range of partners with products and or services of relevance to the needs of our in-school nascent entrepreneurs. Such service could be inclusive of psycho-social support, career orientation, opportunities for internships and placements, for matriculated learners to progress into after-school related initiatives, mentorship, etc.