6.5.1 Support Rural Entrepreneurship Through Schools

One growth area in rural entrepreneurship is school-based entrepreneurship programs. This expansion is driven in part by two factors. First, teaching entrepreneurship in schools is one way to help prepare young people for a career after school.Second, schools are a cost-effective infrastructure for entrepreneurship initiatives to use to reach young people. 

School-based entrepreneurship initiatives fall into two categories. In one category, school-based curricula help teachers open students’ hearts and minds to the potential of enterprise ownership as a positive career path, rather than a negative default activity. They also develop a range of skills useful for entrepreneurship and beyond, including financial literacy and work readiness skills, which include: creativity and ingenuity, planning, and self-confidence linked to marketing and sales.   

In the other category, more practical tools and programs support students to engage in business while in school, and to make plans for business after school ends. Some initiatives are individually focused, and some are group focused, while a few support the school itself to run a business that generates revenue to offset operating expenses or improve the quality of services, such as water, food, or lighting.

Tools for Schools Curricula
  • Enterprise Uganda Foundation: Students attend entrepreneurship training with their households during school breaks that do not “disturb” the mainstream education curricula. www.enterprise.co.ug
  • Lyndon Rego Center for Creative Leadership: The Center focuses on “Leadership Beyond Boundaries.” According to the center, this kind of leadership training is normally delivered to executives and other elite populations. The center is “democratizing” leadership training by providing it to young, disadvantaged people around the world. Their curriculum focuses on self-assessment and developing an individual life and leadership vision.  www.leadbeyond.org
  • Educate!  Targeting the final two years of secondary school, Educate! offers entrepreneurship and leadership training and supports model businesses or community initiatives.  Educate! works by linking secondary schools with an Educate! mentor who delivers the program and links students with additional mentors in their communities.  In Uganda, Educate! is integrating this model into the national education system.  www.educateuganda.org


    • Junior Achievement Worldwide (JA) in Kenya: JA’s Student Business Plan Competition targets high-achieving students in some of the best schools in Kenya. They gain work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship competencies. Students establish businesses over a three-month period, and receive a mentor from a larger business who helps them overcome specific challenges they encounter. Many business concepts are in innovative technical arenas such as alternative energy. www.kenya.ja.org
    • Teach a Man to Fish: This organization’s School Enterprise Challenge offers training and guidance to schools to establish school-based enterprises, which generate income and provide a platform for student learning. The School Enterprise Challenge is an annual competition that provides prizes to schools, teachers and individuals. The purpose is to promote school-based enterprises, and it is free to participate.  The organization provides a full package of teaching and business establishment materials, and provides feedback on business plans. The foundation incorporates environmental and social sustainability into the business training materials. www.teachamantofish.org.uk
    • Aflatoun: With its programs focusing on social skills and financial education, aims to inspire children and youth to be socially and economically empowered citizens to become active agents capable of transforming their communities and societies. Aflatoun works in  102 countries with 150 partner organizations through a social franchise model:  Aflatoun provides curricula and training to local partners, who either mobilize local funding or integrate SFE in their ongoing programs for children and youth.  Several curricula (with teacher guides) for different ages of children and youth ranging from 3yrs-24 years have been developed by Aflatoun and is available in about 30 languages.  Curricula provides children with a holistic learning experience that embraces knowledge and skills harnessed from both inside and outside the classroom. The curricula covers both social and  business enterprises. In 2013, schools in 102 countries participated in a very diverse contexts. http://www.aflatoun.org/
    • Urban Gardens Program for HIV Impacted Women and Children: (US Government PEPFAR funded initiative implemented by DAI in Ethiopia1): This innovative value chain development program had trouble reaching young people until it partnered with 183 schools to establish school-based urban gardens which provide a source of food and income for the school, as well as agri-business training and experience for students. The program also established savings and loan groups among student population that supported children to stay in school. http://dai.com/our-work/projects/ethiopia—urban-gardens-program-hiv-affected-women-and-children-ugp


  • 1.   PEPFAR is the Presidential Emergency Program for Aids Relief; DAI is Development Alternatives International.