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Students Showcase Innovative Entrepreneurial Thinking at Business Challenge

December 02, 2016

Team BuzziBee Boutique celebrating their victory.

Winning the annual Ellie Newman Moot Court competition, beating 320 participants by showcasing outstanding legal skills, is a sure sign that fourth-year Law student Mr Elisha Kunene is equipped for success in the legal profession.

Kunene competed in the Moot final - hosted by the School of Law in Durban - alongside finalists Ms Jolene Thompson, Mr Andile Mabaso and Mr Connor Alexander.

The finalists displayed their legal prowess in front of judges, Law School academics Professor Karthy Govender, Ms Lindiwe Maqutu, Professor Tanya Woker and Mr Vishal Surbun as well as family and friends.

A highlight at the final was third-year Law student Mr Andile Mcineka being awarded the Yunus Mohammed Public Interest Law Award by Madam Justice Dhaya Pillay for his article: “Winnie Getting the Short End of the Stick”, which was published in The Sunday Tribune.

The award recognises Mcineka’s valuable contribution to knowledge in the field of public law.

‘There was depth in his argument; he drew on judgments in a coherent manner; it was a pleasure interacting with him…’ these were some of the comments made by the judges on Kunene’s performance before his announcement as the winner which was greeted with resounding applause and a standing ovation from the audience.

‘Winning the Ellie Newman award means the world to me. It’s literally a dream come true. My time in ‘varsity has been quite difficult in a number of ways but I was determined to finish strongly and I sort of viewed this year as a rebuilding period,’ says Kunene.

‘Earlier in the year a good friend of mine and I won the Southern African National Debating Championships and I ranked first in the country. So I really feel like God is with me on this winning streak.’

The great debater who used his skills to coach school debating teams to generate funds for his university tuition got academic merit scholarships from UKZN for his first and second year. However, monetary challenges nearly saw Kunene being financially excluded in his second year.

‘In a remarkable turn of events I was able to stay and complete my studies thanks to a generous intervention by Norton Rose Fulbright. The firm and I parted ways this year but I will always be grateful to them and to everyone else who have contributed to keeping me going,’ he said.

Looking to the future, Kunene said: ‘I have been granted the great privilege of being accepted to clerk for Justice Raymond Zondo at the Constitutional Court next year.’  His long-term plans include becoming an advocate.

Thandiwe Jumo
Business Partners, sponsors of the Integrated Business Studies (IBS) presentations by UKZN Bachelor of Business Science students, has committed to financing all the innovative business solutions showcased on the day.

The presentations, part of the IBS module, involved four groups each creating a business concept and developing a proposal around business functions such as information technology, top management and finance.

Acting Dean of the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Dr Mabutho Sibanda, said he was very impressed with the presentations.

‘I really value Business Science as it is a flagship course for the School and the College,’ said Sibanda. ‘I am proud of the students and their work ethic and how they displayed the soft skills and critical thinking they have learned from the IBS module. I am looking forward to them graduating in record time.’

The students were also required to make a reflection video displaying their perspectives of the course.

IBS Lecturer and event co-ordinator Mr Kenneth Ngwenya said it was important to motivate students to share their experiences and learn how the theory they are taught is so evident in the real world.

‘It has been a pleasure working with a group of students who are always willing to learn and show a keen interest in their academic development.

‘What impresses me the most about the class of 2016 is the quality of business ideas presented in the BuzziBee Botique, SWIFTBUY, Saucery and Vigi Band projects and also the teamwork displayed during the presentations,’ said Ngwenya.

Group Leader of the BuzziBee Boutique project which won top honours, Ms Amy Thorpe, said the idea was to develop a subscription baby clothing store.

Event sponsors, Business Partners were so impressed by the high calibre presentations and ideas showcased by the students that they committed to funding all the business ideas presented at the event.

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