Stanbic Bank has unveiled the 8th edition of the National Schools Championship programme to further support Uganda’s economic resilience. For the last eight years the program has impacted 420,000 students across the country and expanded opportunities by empowering young people with employable and entrepreneurial skills.
The annual challenge is aimed at nurturing participants into a generation of innovative job creators with knowledge and life skills such as managing personal finance, entrepreneurship, and business management. Annually, 600 business ideas are mooted by the students and to date, 187 startups have been brought to life along with numerous growth stories from alumni and patron teachers as a direct result of the championship.
The overall theme is ‘Empowering the job creators of tomorrow’, with the 2023 tagline ‘Powering Innovation for Job Creation’, intended to encourage learners to develop innovative solutions to the challenges in their communities. Stanbic Bank is the anchor subsidiary of Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited which in turn is part of Standard Bank Group, the largest African banking group by assets. Speaking during the official launch of the 2023 NSC at Crested Towers Emma Mugisha, the Stanbic Bank Executive Director said, “We cannot reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals without investing in youth skills. As Stanbic Bank, we are exceedingly proud of the Championship.
It is our flagship CSI initiative and we are also proud of our long partnership with the Ministry of Education and Sports, to empower young people to play their future roles in the economic development of this country.” “Not only are they being equipped with life skills to be able to make responsible decisions; meet challenges head on; and set and achieve goals, they are also benefiting from training in financial literacy, business skills and entrepreneurship. At the same time they learn the importance of integrating environmental protection to ensure sustainable development,” she said. Mugisha said, “Through the NSC, we are preparing these students for the future of work, whether that is in employment, self-employment or as an entrepreneur. We are giving them the vital push they need for them to take control of their future and be able to meaningfully contribute to their communities. This falls squarely in line with our mandate Uganda is our home, we drive her growth” Mugisha also appreciated the partners that have been a part of the National Schools Championship over the years – The implementing partner, Investors Club, NBS, Roofings, Total, PWC and International University of East Africa (IUEA).
Classroom competitions involving an initial 100 schools have already taken place to select the students who will move onto the next stage. In the first week of April these students will take part in the Business Innovations Ideas presentation stage. During the second half of 2023 over 60,000 students are expected to compete in the business ideas challenge. The main categories are; Start-ups which involves new schools and innovative ideas (81 schools) and Biz Grow that judges businesses continuing in schools with 19 schools competing. The other categories are Alumni (AlumGrow Challenge) and teachers (TeachGrow Challenge).
The Minister of Youth and Children Affairs, Sarah Mateke said, “The Ministry believes that to utilize young people’s potential as agents of change, requires involving and empowering them. From the very beginning we have been enthusiastic partners with Stanbic Bank in holding the annual National Schools Championship. By teaching our students to be job-creators and problem-solvers, this competition is helping to bridge the gap between educational institutions and the community to collaborate on finding solutions that strengthen community development.”
She explained that the Ministry also believes that learning is not confined to the achievement of academic goals alone. It can and should be promoted in a range of other contexts both within and outside of the classroom as represented by the National Schools Championship. And that school competitions also help students to develop and demonstrate real-world skills, which can be relevant for almost any job. “We therefore applaud Stanbic Bank for their continued sponsorship of this competition and declare this Season 8 officially open” Mateke said.