Dylan Tasdhary (class of 2020) is the first Jeppe boy to be accepted on the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.The programme is focused on potential high impact entrepreneurs and it comprises a four year curriculum aimed at the personal development of individuals who can significantly impact the economic lives of their communities, and the country.
Dylan, who got seven distinctions at the end of last year, explained that academic performance is not the only criteria for selection. “They look at other factors, evaluating whether you have the personality to be a successful entrepreneur who can make a difference at the end of the course,” he said.
The selection process was very arduous, Dylan said. There were 10 000 applicants to begin with and these were whittled down, though a number of steps, to 200 finalists, of which 100 were accepted.
Dylan is doing BSc degree in Computer Science and Physics at UCT and, at the same time he is competing the Foundation’s curriculum which, due to Covid-19, is an online process. “The curriculum covers personal development and entrepreneurial skills,” he said. “The entrepreneurial side focuses on what entrepreneurship is and the different types that exist, on the skills needed to run a business and on the steps needed to start up and run a sustainable small enterprise.
“The personal development component looks at emotional intelligence, on developing a problem-solving mindset and on resilience. You are assigned a programme officer from within the Foundation who you meet with regularly and who tracks your progress.
”There are great benefits to being part of the programme. Full tuition fees are covered, including residential accommodation, books and stationery. There is also a monthly stipend. “It’s not just about the financial assistance,” Dylan stresses. “It’s the personal growth opportunities that are really exciting. “While studying you are a fellow of the Foundation and once you complete the course you become part of the Allan Gray Orbis Association, a community of alumni. You then benefit from the network of alumni who have been through the process and are a valuable resource in terms of advice and guidance,” Dylan said.
Dylan heard about the Foundation from former Jeppe deputy headmaster, Mr Kevin Leathem. “He helped me with the application process and encouraged me,” he said. He gives credit to Jeppe for his acceptance onto the programme. “I learnt the skills and developed the necessary attitude at the school. “Jeppe instilled in me the qualities that they were looking for and I am grateful.”