Turning students into entrepreneurs

7 October 2013

Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe on Friday launched a new Centre for Entrepreneurship at the King Hintsa FET College for Agriculture in Butterworth, Eastern Cape.

The centre forms part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) programme to establish platforms at FET colleges around the country to develop local entrepreneurs capable of going on to establish viable, competitive businesses.

“Attempts have been made in recent years to provide entrepreneurship development support in a more coherent and comprehensive way,” Thabethe said at Friday’s launch.

“It is particularly in the light of the catalyst role it plays that the centre can develop local communities,” Thabethe said, adding that the centre would serve as a hub for information and training in the area.

Seed funding of R3-million was allocated for setting up the first phase of the centre, and the DTI would be partnering with the University of Johannesburg to provide capacity building training for lecturers.

“Once all systems have been set up, we will move into the second phase, which will involve training,” Thabethe said. “We are going to be linking with an incubation programme to support potential entrepreneurs, and we will also link them with the Small Enterprise Development Agency for training.”

Director Jomo Jacobs said the centre will be a valuable addition to the King Hintsa FET College for Agriculture’s strong agro-processing curriculum.

“The practical studies that we will be offering will go a long way in addressing the skills shortage and lack of work experience that sees most of our unemployed and graduates struggle to secure jobs,” Jacobs said. “We pledge to grow this centre into a pioneer institution in agro-processing studies.’

Thabethe said that, in order to foster entrepreneurship among students, it was crucial to promote business formation as a realistic and profitable option.

“It is against this backdrop that efforts are being made to address entrepreneurship development and ensure that education is driven in such a way that business ventures become a choice rather than a last resort for students.”

Source: SAnews.gov.za