– by Noluthando Makhaza
According to the Department of Higher Education and Training in South Africa, the University of KwaZulu Natal has been ranked, consistently, as one of the top universities in terms of research output, over the past 6 years. “We shouldn’t just do research for the sake of academic research and publishing. As a university, we want to ensure that our research has maximum socio-economic impact” said UKZN’s Professor Deresh Ramjugernath who is the Deputy Vice Chancellor in Research.
Professor Ramjugernath was one of the guest speakers at the recent UKZN Student Entrepreneurship Programme that took place at Westville Campus. At this Entrepreneurship event, 10 student finalists were given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of five judges. Each contestant was given 3 minutes to present their business idea and 2 minutes for answering questions from the panel of judges. This programme was recently launched by UKZN InQubate who are the custodians for innovation and entrepreneurship at the university. This successful launch was attended by students, sponsors, support staff and the guest of Honour, Mr Sihle Zikalala who is the Minister of EDTEA KZN.
Judges came to a unanimous decision where the best business idea and first place was awarded to Ndabenhle Moloi’s Hlanganani Educational App. This application aims to bring stakeholders (teachers, parents, students, departments of basic and higher education and retailers) of basic education together. UKZN Extended Learning proudly sponsored Ndabenhle with a 3 day short course of his choice in order to equip him with the necessary skills required for his business operation.
Through this programme, UKZN InQubate will nurture all the economically viable ideas and aspiring entrepreneurs by offering business mentorship. This assistance involves developing student business plans, training for pitching, sourcing funding and office space, amongst other support.