In response to the high levels of unemployment in South Africa, the Department Higher Education and Training has introduced measures to stimulate entrepreneurship development at universities. Higher Education Institutions are well-placed to catalyse entrepreneurship and innovation for the development of a new economy. A vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem at universities in South Africa would, amongst others, encourage students to consider entrepreneurship as a career path.
These were the sentiments central to nearly every facet of the third annual national Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Lekgotla – a four-day gathering of hundreds of leaders in entrepreneurship from universities and TVET colleges.
The Department of Higher Education and Training has formalised the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Programme. This programme is being implemented through a partnership with Universities South Africa (USAf), with the Department having an oversight role.
“The EDHE Lekgotla is a fantastic opportunity for the entire community to see and learn about all the ways our university, in partnership with the city, region and state is moving forward as a leader in the innovation and entrepreneurship space,” said Dr Vuyisile Phehane, Director: UJ Technology Transfer Office (UJTTO) “Here at UJ, we are providing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders with the curriculum, projects and industry connections to make a real difference in the lives of others. We aim to create employers, and position the university as the preferred institution of higher learning, that has deliberate interventions to tackle unemployment and poverty in our country and the African continent at large”.
The EDHE Lekgotla 2019 aims to be relevant and highly interactive, while allowing for a diversity of perspectives and voices within the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem.
Simultaneously, a dedicated one-day ‘Studentpreneurs’ Indaba took place, providing a learning platform and voice for pre – registered student entrepreneurs from universities and TVET colleges across the country. UJ’s Thulane Makubo was nominated and selected as the bona fide student representative of UJ in the space of entrepreneurship at this Indaba, in a process funded entirely by the UJTTO with the co-operation of the university’s Deans and Heads of Department.
Makubo (21) is currently a third Year Bachelor of Accounting student, and is pursuing his dream of qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. He is also a SAICA Thuthuka Bursary holder and whilst academically driven, he is a co-founder and director of New Age Swag, a clothing brand formed in 2015 along with his two business partners.
Citing the EDHE’s support of students and programmes, Makubo said today’s young entrepreneurs are getting the experience and exposure to industry networks that have been identified as necessary for success.
The EDHE Programme spans across institutional and regional boundaries. It is aimed at addressing entrepreneurship development needs at individual institutions, while drawing together regional resources and efforts to the benefit of stakeholders on a national level.
The University of Johannesburg’s Technology Transfer Office (UJTTO) is positioned to assist with the protection of ideas where warranted, and to seek market entry. This function is achieved through support given to University-based inventors, on aspects of Intellectual Property (IP) management, which ranges from IP identification and disclosure, IP protection, IP strategy development and implementation, as well as the commercialisation of products, processes and services through avenues such as licenses and the creation of start-up companies.