South Africa: UCT Student Entrepreneurs Head to National Finals

(file photo).

The University of Cape Town's (UCT) student entrepreneurs pulled out all the stops during the regional round of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition, topping three of the four categories and heading to the national final later this year.

Following a week of virtual pitching, the category winners were announced by Norah Clarke, director of entrepreneurship for the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) programme, on Friday, 10 July 2020. The Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition is an initiative of the EDHE and is hosted by UCT's Careers Service.

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

"We are incredibly proud of our talented student entrepreneurs. Everyone did fantastically, and witnessing the camaraderie among participants across universities, albeit remotely, was palpable and very special," said Nadia Waggie, UCT's Entrepreneurship Intervarsity coordinator.

Regional winners

Qhawe Bula, whose online digital library, TAQA, provides read-along children's audiobooks written in South Africa's 11 official languages, topped the business ideas category.

Moeketsi Mashibini's education-focused community development organisation, Pantsula, aimed at youth in under-resourced communities, conquered the existing business - social impact category.

Ndabenhle Ntshangase's business, AirStudent, which allows students to make group travel bookings and choose the group they wish to join for a holiday at a reduced rate, won the existing business general category.

"This is a wonderful achievement for our student entrepreneurs and looking back to the internal round, their pitching skills really improved."

Keaton Harris from Stellenbosch University walked away as the winner of the existing business - tech category.

A "phenomenal" show

Students had just three minutes to pitch their ideas online to a panel of judges before a two-minute question-and-answer session.

Waggie said pitching online has not been an easy task, but students put on a "phenomenal show" for the judges.

"This is a wonderful achievement for our student entrepreneurs and looking back to the internal round, their pitching skills really improved so much. They put on a phenomenal show," Waggie said.

UCT remains committed to supporting student entrepreneurs and will work closely with them in the lead-up to the finals to ensure they are "pitch ready", she added.

The national final will take place in November and organisers hope for a contact event, depending on lockdown regulations.

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