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Entrepreneurship Programme Benefits Youth

August 14, 2017


Participants of UKZN’s Student Entrepreneurship Week.

UKZN students were encouraged to make entrepreneurship their career of choice as a solution to unemployment at the recent Student Entrepreneurship Week (SEW) hosted by the University in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

Student Entrepreneurship Week is a national initiative hosted by various universities with the Department aimed at raising awareness about entrepreneurship as a career and providing students and aspiring entrepreneurs with basic entrepreneurship skills training to assist them in becoming employers rather than employees. 

At UKZN, the four day programme championed by the School of Management Studies, Information Technology and Governance academic Ms Lindiwe Kunene who is also the Deputy Chair for the Student Entrepreneurship Community of Practice with Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) saw various programmes being run by the College of Law and Management Studies, the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science and InQubate on the Westville, Howard College and the Pietermaritzburg campuses.

Kunene has always had a passion for entrepreneurial development and believes entrepreneurship should be injected in all of South Africa’s education systems and fields.

‘Firstly, we need to change our basic education from early childhood development in schools to higher institutions of learning and incorporate innovative thinking into the curriculum,’ she said.

She further added, ‘Emphasis of entrepreneurship and innovative thinking should not be regarded as a commerce subject which sits in Management departments at universities but should in fact be a multidisciplinary dimension. Skills required to practice as an entrepreneur should be part of the core outcomes for all who graduate in Higher Education.’

The programme kicked off with a panel discussion that saw panellists Mr Bradley Porter of Flexible Workspace, Mr Siyamcela Ntsevu from advertising agency, AdonAfro, KUMISA’s Mr Thando Nyameni and DHET representative Ms Thando Mnisi sharing their experiences of their highs and lows during their entrepreneurial journeys. The message from the panellists was that entrepreneurship is a viable career as long as one stays motivated, realistic and determined to find solutions to the challenges.

Day two was dedicated to SHAPE (Shifting Hope, Activating Potential Entrepreneurship), spear-headed by entrepreneurship lecturer Dr Thea Van Der Westhuizen. The programme included presentations by youth development entrepreneurs Mr Simo Nzama from Babuse communication and Mr Dene Botha from Pride Factor who challenged students to be entrepreneurs who come up with innovative ideas that will be solutions to the challenges faced by people daily.

Day three saw InQubate encourage aspirant entrepreneurs to put their ideas to the test through an elevator pitch competition. The pitch involved the entrepreneurs promoting their ideas to potential investors in the time the elevator took to reach its destination. First place went to Bachelor of Social Science student Ms Nandisa Ngubelanga of iKhaya4U Student Accommodation Portal.

The weeks’ events concluded with the College of Law and Management Studies and The College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science hosting two interesting sessions. The latter showcased presentations from their alumni who are now entrepreneurs at the forefront of innovation, Ms Bathabile Mpofu and Ms Nomandla Ngcoya. The former, event was hosted at the Pietermartizburg campus with Mr Nigel Chiweshe from the Entrepreneurship discipline leading discussions on entrepreneurship.  Guest speakers’ Mr Phakama Nhassego from Vescowisz Property group and Ms Thandeka Ndlovu of Total Serve Facilities, emphasised the importance of financial discipline and the need to always be in touch with one’s community in entrepreneurship.

Speaking on behalf DHET, Mnisi says entrepreneurship has become popular in the world, it has become a response to challenges that affect the youth in South Africa such as graduate unemployment.

‘We as the DHET have created a response to this challenge in the form a project called the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education and Training, which is endorsed by Minister Blade Nzimande. We aim to create entrepreneurial awareness by partnering with universities and getting involved in programmes such as the SEW 2017,’ she said.

An online channel was also launched which will assist anyone who wants information, and wants to learn about entrepreneurship processes. Some of the educational material on the site is provided in isiZulu. You can log on to http://mybigstartup.com/UKZN

Sibonelo Shinga

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