The first round of Core Course students has successfully graduated in April. Especially the business plans they created were overall very promising and impressive.
The Potentiam Youth Development Centre is proud to graduate the first intake of Core course students who enrolled in November last year. The students who received a certificate in Applied Business Skills from the Youth Centre were extremely excited and ready to implement the business plans that they had spent the last 6 months preparing. The Centre was set up with a unique strategy not just to empower youth by developing their business skills, but the personal development course and all aspects of the business course were developed in a way that supports critical thinking. The curriculum in Uganda is crippling too many students who study with the sole aim to pass exams and not necessarily to learn. Working closely with youth who have dropped out of the formal learning system, it was necessary to apply methods that would improve the classroom environment, promoting different learning styles and ability.
11 students were able to graduate out of the 15 who started the course. 3 students dropped out for personal reasons and 1 student did not receive the marks required to graduate from the course. The graduation ceremony was very colourful with representatives from the community and parents in attendance to help the students celebrate this milestone in their lives. There was entertainment from the Fontes Drama Troop with a couple of students performing their original song compositions which got everybody excited. The students are eager to apply their education and some of them have already found employment.
The Potentiam Youth Centre is striving to provide education that is relevant, motivational, engaging and most of all easily understood by the students. The likelihood of young entrepreneurs returning to their home communities can be enhanced by connecting them with specific business opportunities, either a new business startup or being employed by an existing business. It is therefore essential that the students understand their business plans and find a way to apply it in either situation. With the help of the community and the mentors, several students have already been able to find employment after graduating from the centre. Others have concrete plans laid out in their business plans and are saving to finance their start-ups.
The students are required to keep their business plans realistic, innovative, feasible and scalable. To achieve this, they had to conduct a market research and analysis and in their own simple way. They were able to understand the importance of having a plan in place and anticipating the challenges in their businesses. Some of the students even went ahead to start micro businesses within the centre, providing treats for their fellow students and some were even employed by the centre.
The students exceeded all expectations presenting impressive business plans that demonstrated clear understandings of the businesses they hoped to delve into.
They were able to confidently present their business plans to a panel of judges. In an impressive end to the course, the business plans were not only innovative and well written but also demonstrated a level of thinking and attitude adjustment which justified the approach that Fontes Foundation has taken from the start.
The Centre is currently seeking funding to finance a Business Development and Advisory component to follow up the students’ plans and have far reaching impact on their livelihood options.