The Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2022 is gearing up for the second phase of the contest — internal rounds where student entrepreneurs compete against one another within their universities.
The competition kicked off on 24 February, when it opened for entries until 11 April. Registered students from all 26 public South African universities were eligible to submit entries across the four categories of the competition — (a) business ideas, (b) existing business: tech, (c) existing business: social impact, and (d) existing business: general.
To date, the competition has attracted 1682 entries, and, of those, 715 were found to meet the submission criteria and will be competing internally, within their institutions.
EDHE’s Senior Student Engagement Officer, Mr Sandile Shabalala (left), says even though the numbers are lower than anticipated, they believe that the quality of entries will be better this year.
“Even though we encourage wide participation, we also seek to improve, year-on-year, on the quality of solutions presented and to identify those that are better positioned to attract investment,” he says.
The table below shows participation levels, to date, per university. Winners will proceed to the regional rounds, where finalists headed for the national EDHE Intervarsity showdown in November will be selected.
Participation requires intense preparation
This stage of the competition includes intense pitch training and coaching from the entrepreneurship coordinators and their partners at universities. EDHE believes that students still need to be guided on critical entrepreneurship skills, which they need well into their business practice, way beyond their studies.
Ms Ntombifuthi Mthembu (right), Student Entrepreneurship Coordinator at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), says their students are eager to be capacitated for this event. That keenness manifested when the studentpreneurs requested to set aside Saturdays as training days to prevent the process from clashing with their classes. Mthembu aims to thoroughly coach the students and sharpen their pitching and public speaking skills.
Combined with the active support of MUT’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, the Dean of Management Sciences, and the institution’s provision of the necessary tools, Mthembu expects the process of preparing students to succeed.
Speaking from the University of Cape Town, Ms Nadia Waggie (left), Student Entrepreneurship Coordinator and Chairperson for the EDHE Community of Practice for Student Entrepreneurship, reiterates that although the applications were fewer this year, the quality has improved. She said that students were beginning to give more thought to their applications. “We therefore expect a solid outcome with the internal round,” she asserts.
“Year on year, we hope that we are able to encourage more students to recognise entrepreneurship as a means of improving their own and their communities’ economic and social impact in South Africa and beyond.”
She said at UCT, the internal round will entail a virtual three-day event, which will see the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, delivering an opening address.
Encouragement with insights from the 2021 winners
- Ms Tshegofatso Masenya is the founder of GoShare, an online crowdfunding platform that enables students to raise funds to cover their tuition fees. She admits to growing in leaps and bounds after entering and winning the competition in 2021, in the Existing Business: Social Impact Category. Masenya is also the 2021 Studentpreneur of the Year. Click below for more: https://web.facebook.com/StudentEntrepreneurship/videos/514352590158222
- Ms Vuthlarhi Shirindza is the founder of Chewi, a pet telehealth app that offers on-demand pet telemedicine and services. The 2nd runner up in the 2021 Existing Business – Social Impact Category, Shirindza tells of how the judges’ advice and the EDHE business mentorship sessions contributed to the growth of her business. Click below to hear more: https://web.facebook.com/StudentEntrepreneurship/videos/654019975684345
- Ms Chido Dzinotyiwei, founder of Vambo Academy, a business offering an online platform for learning African languages, also narrates what she gained from participating in the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2021: https://web.facebook.com/StudentEntrepreneurship/videos/401160058516673
- Mr Tinus Potgieter, the founder of BlomSkok Technologies, a tech-based innovation enterprise that seeks to give farmers an early warning system on possible attacks, recalls how he grew a small idea into something meaningful, and how his self-confidence to pitch the idea to investors grew, thanks to the coaching and mentoring he received after entering the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2021 and winning in the Innovative Business Ideas Category: https://web.facebook.com/StudentEntrepreneurship/videos/541977747350990
The annual EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity is one of EDHE’s flagship projects. Its purpose is to identify the top student entrepreneurs at the South African public universities, recognise and showcase their businesses, and invite investment into this cohort of student businesses. The competition enables aspiring entrepreneurs in the ideation phase to pitch their innovative business ideas. In the process, universities get to showcase their entrepreneurial talent and demonstrate how they support and grow the next generation of business leaders.
Students will be pitching their ideas and businesses with their gaze on the R100 000 cash prize due to the Studentpreneur of the Year. Each winner in the four categories will walk away with R20 000.
The EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity internal rounds will run until 30 June, followed by the regional rounds from 29 August to 7 September. The competition will culminate in the national finals on 17 November 2022, with the winners being announced at the prestigious EDHE Awards 2022 event.
Nqobile Tembe is a Communication Consultant contracted to Universities South Africa.