EIGHT UCT STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS IN REGIONAL COMPETITION

It was game on as budding University of Cape Town (UCT) student entrepreneurs went head to head during the internal round of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition, which took place between 25 and 29 May, sending eight participants to the regional leg of the competition.

UCT’s top student entrepreneurs will battle it out with their entrepreneurially minded counterparts from Stellenbosch University, the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the University of South Africa.

“I am so inspired by our student entrepreneurs and their business ideas and I am confident that our ailing economy will be in good hands with these bright young minds leading the way in the future,” said Nadia Waggie, UCT’S Entrepreneurship Intervarsity coordinator.

The Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition is an initiative of the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education programme and is hosted by UCT’s Careers Service department.

The competition aims to identify the top student entrepreneur at each of South Africa’s 26 public universities, recognize and showcase their businesses and attract investors to their enterprises. It also provides aspiring entrepreneurs, whose businesses are still in ideas stage, to pitch their concepts.

Students entered the following four categories during the internal round:

  • business ideas
  • existing business – tech
  • existing business – social impact
  • existing business – general.

Pitching process

Student entrepreneurs had just three minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges online before a two-minute question and answer session, and, said Waggie, “really bowled judges over” with their innovative ideas.

While the rules allow for only eight participants to proceed to the next round of the competition, she said “everyone remains a winner”. She encouraged students to “keep pursuing your entrepreneurial dream”.

“There were so many great business pitches and I so wish that we could take everyone on the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity journey with us. Remember, this is not the end; we encourage you to keep going,” she said.

Winning concepts

The eight student entrepreneurs proceeding to the regional round of the competition are:

  • Qhawe Bula, whose online digital library, TAQA, provides read-along children’s audiobooks written in South Africa’s 11 official languages.
  • Thabiso Letlala’s digital lending platform, Norts, enables students to transact from authorised merchants using Norts’s funds via a QR code or debit card.
  • Ndabenhle Ntshangase’s business, AirStudent, allows students to make group travel bookings and choose the group they wish to join for a holiday at a reduced rate. AirStudent liaises directly with the airline.
  • Karabo Thinane’s Software/Technology Achiever platform rewards qualifying students weekly for reaching certain targets. Rewards include anything from a cup of coffee to a meet-up with a celebrity.
  • Moeketsi Mashibini’s education-focused community development organisation, Pantsula, is aimed at youth in under-resourced communities.
  • Athenkosi Nzala’s Authentic Lens is an up-and-coming business that captures special moments and provides users with the same experience previously reserved for a studio.
  • Aaron Funyufunyu’s Syncsource Solutions is an information systems and/or information technology business.
  • Brian Mulambo’s Zero1 Creations is a digital marketing and branding business.

“Students were absolutely amazing during this round, especially since this was the first time [that] we ran the competition remotely. Despite some challenges, our student entrepreneurs were agile and committed to getting their ideas across,” Waggie said.

The regional round will be hosted by UWC and will run online from 13 to17 July.

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