A student team, comprising of 884-members from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) was crowned as National Champions after participating in the Enactus South Africa National Competition. Their entrepreneurial stealth demonstrated in reinventing strategies, finding innovative solutions to complex real-world issues and well-executed presentations clinched them the prestigious title in Johannesburg, last week.
ENACTUS refers to:
Entrepreneurial – igniting business innovation with integrity and passion
Action – the experience of social impact that sparks social enterprise.
Us – student, academic and business leaders collaborating to create a better world.
The Enactus University of Johannesburg team competed against 21 South African universities. The team’s projects explored solutions to the mounting unemployment crisis through enterprising business innovation. Students from various UJ faculties will fly the South African flag at the Enactus World Cup 2016 in Toronto, Canada on 28-30 September 2016.
The Enactus, University of Johannesburg team was lauded for two multi-stakeholder engagement projects – an urban farming project and a another aimed to create entrepreneurial opportunities for refugees.
Under the stewardship of Ms Joyce Sibeko (Lecturer in Business Management, UJ), and Ms Christa van Zyl (Lecturer in Communication Design, UJ) the engagement project aims to create opportunities for urban agriculture in a sustainable food system in Soweto. Amidst a global concern over food security this project highlights the positive impact of urban farming.
In collaboration with Dr Naude Malan (Lecturer Development Studies, UJ) the team was instrumental in providing a platform for entrepreneurs to satisfy a customer base in their own community. The Izindaba Zokudla (Conversations about Food) project was established, which advocates specific approaches to urban agricultural development in Johannesburg. It draws on participatory research to build the capacity of farmers’ organisations; to facilitate engagement with food enterprises in the city; and to use design and technology development as a means to improve agricultural practices,” says Ms Sibeko.
“The project markets urban farmers in Soweto and also increases the urban farmer’s opportunities for retail,” she elaborated.
The other global challenge the UJ team tackled is the refugee influx into economies. The focus is on the development of a business model to secure a sustainable stream of income for foreign nationals in Johannesburg and Pretoria which could curtail xenophobia and benefit other global societies.
“Looting and xenophobia attacks on foreign nationals were some of the reasons for the Enactus UJ team to explore solutions to better the standard of living within our communities. Training on how to run small informal trading outlets were held in Gauteng. The team assisted foreign nationals with business plans that enabled them to generate start-up capital,” she said.
“As an incubator of future fit leaders the values espoused in entrepreneurial practice is a corner stone of UJ’s educational approach and tetament to its commitment to transforming our society. Our students’ performance was exceptional, as the level of competition was incredibly high. Our team competed against teams representing top South African universities,” says Ms Sibeko.
Sibeko concludes: “I’m grateful that the entrepreneurial actions of the University have been rewared.This is possible due to the exceptional lecturing staff at UJ and all the support received from the University as a whole.