The School Co-operative: A Training Ground for Future Entrepreneurs

Country: Malaysia
Organisation: St George’s Girls’ School

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St George’s Girls’ School started from humble beginnings in 1827. Since then the school has flourished and produced many outstanding leaders. The School Co‑operative was established in 1970 and has since become the pride and ethos of the school. In 2010 the school was conferred the high performing status by the Malaysian Ministry of Education, and this has helped spur the success of the school. Through the years, the Co-operative has expanded into various business activities undertaken by its members, namely, the School and the Hostel Co-operative Shoppe, chilli fertigation, cafeteria, kiosk, cyber cafe, tourism, catering, Georgian cookies, Co-op Mart, fitness centre and a budget hotel. With a total membership of 138 staff, and 1,414 students, the Co-operative was able to reap higher clean profits of RM131,915.71 for the financial year ending 31 August 2011. This has led the Board of Directors to declare a 15 per cent dividend.

In line with Malaysia’s Education Development Master Plan which aims at producing first-class human capital to enable the country to face the challenges and competitiveness of a globalised world, a holistic education system is envisaged whereby innovation and entrepreneurship plays as important a role as academic achievements. Innovation and entrepreneurship among the younger generation will help Malaysia achieve its vision of being a fully-developed country by the year 2020. The School Co-operative contributes greatly to this as what is learnt in the classroom translates into good practice in the true sense of the word. Knowledge related to subjects like economics, accounts, commerce and ICT is aptly applied to the operations of the School Co-operative, a perfect training ground for student entrepreneurs. The diversified nature of the School Co-operative’s business concerns gives the students a wider range of experience.

Impact and effect

The existence of the School Co-operative has given unlimited opportunities to its members to attend seminars, conventions, carnivals, competitions and courses related to entrepreneurship.  The hard work, commitment and dedication of the teachers and students have culminated in the School Co-operative continuously winning prestigious awards at the state and national levels. The highly esteemed image of the School Co-operative has brought schools not only locally but internationally to learn the ropes of the proper running of a school co-operative.

Looking ahead

The School Co-operative looks forward to achieving greater heights as an expansion of its business concerns into the community outside the school is envisaged. Foraging beyond the confines of the school environment into the real business world will help its students face realistic challenges. St George’s Girls’ School has over the years been very successful in embedding entrepreneurship skills in its students. The School Co-operative: A Training Ground for Future Entrepreneurs has been in practice for many years and its students have blossomed from shy and timid 12-year-olds to mature, confident and enterprising 17-year-olds. St George’s Girls’ School is confident that this project will be a tool which can be used by any committed school for the good of future generations.