The door of opportunity into the entrepreneurial sectors needs to be opened and young people encouraged to cultivating an entrepreneurial culture. This was the sentiment of entrepreneurial giant, Dr Richard Maponya when he established a partnership with the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Faculty of Management on Thursday, 4 June 2015.
The partnership came to fruition with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that aims to transfer entrepreneurial skills from those who have been successful in the sector. The partnership also entails that the UJ Library will establish an archive of conversations and documents portraying the life and times of Dr Maponya.
Speaking at the signing, Dr Maponya said that the relationship between UJ and the Richard Maponya Institute for Entrepreneurship will bring a change that will enable students to become informed business people who are less dependent on government welfare and tenders. The collaboration will see students enrolled in business programmes offered at UJ and the Institute acquire real-work experience through the provision of quality learning and teaching techniques, as well as acquiring relevant experience from industry leaders.
Furthermore, the University will take the lead in securing important documents, files, films and recordings of Dr Maponya’s business talks, history and life journey. Dr Maponya is known as the ambassador for township economy development in South Africa and the African continent. His visits to Brazil in the past inspired him to empower the youth of South Africa through the use of education in transferring his entrepreneurial expertise to society.
Prof Daneel van Lill, Executive Dean: Faculty of Management, UJ, said that Dr Maponya is one of the pioneers of economic development in South Africa and that his relationship with UJ was beneficial in many instances. “The UJ library will capture the legacy of Dr Maponya. We will have conversations with him to teach future generations about entrepreneurship and inspire them with one of our own from the local community of Soweto,” said Prof van Lill.
Present at the signing were some of UJ’s Management Executive Committee (MEC) members Mr Eric Sogocio, First Secretary: Embassy of Brazil. Some of the Maponya family members were also present at the signing. “The exchange of experiences between Brazil and South Africa and South African Institutes such as the Richard Maponya Institute for Entrepreneurship make a positive contribution to the future of the South African economy,” said Mr Sogocio.
UJ will now provide infrastructure for operations of the Institute. The University will also act as the designated and accredited examining body for students enrolled in programmes with the Institute, until such time as the Institute has been accredited and is capable of fulfilling this function independently. This will be done in accordance with UJ’s applicable policies and procedures
UJ will also now assist, in collaboration with the Institute and in accordance with the Institute of Resource Development and Social Management (IRDAS) Model, with the creation of training material and programmes that will be offered by the Institute to students. UJ will provide skilled personnel to immediately commence with the training and teaching of enrolled students.
Dr Richard Maponya’s entrepreneurship skills and keen business sense has had a profound impact on South African business development and access to these archives will provide students with learning opportunities that will undoubtedly be very beneficial. Such benefits will include ensuring that the Co-Operative Education Department of UJ is given a reasonable opportunity to directly benefit from the operations of the Institute employment readiness programmes, like internships, learnerships, skills, think-tanks, dialogues, conferences, public lectures, and entrepreneurship programmes through its collaboration with the Foundation and the Institute.
The partnership will broaden UJ’s pool of prospective students. Moreover, Dr Maponya will engage students in lectures in his personal capacity when he is able to do so. Dr Maponya’s brand name will enable UJ to form relationships with prolific individuals and entities, making the relationships mutually beneficial to both UJ and the Dr Maponya’s Institute.