Press Release: iEntrepreneur – a Week of Entrepreneurship at Wits

The 2017 Wits Student Entrepreneurship Week will explore how entrepreneurship can help overcome South Africa’s high unemployment. (Image: Wits Business School)

Johannesburg, 30 August, 2017 – Unemployment among the youth of South Africa has reached an ‘all time high’ and young people need to step out and make their own way in the economy. This is according to various stakeholders at Wits University involved in entrepreneurship.

In response to this imperative, Wits is pleased to announce the launch of Student Entrepreneurship Week (SEW) 2017 in order to raise awareness of entrepreneurship as a career. The project is an initiative of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to combat high unemployment, foster sustainable economic growth and facilitate the development of an entrepreneurial economy.

SEW, which will run from the 28 to 31 August, will include a variety of presentations, workshops, discussions and displays, with the aim of making the concept of entrepreneurship accessible and fun.

“We want to encourage students to explore the option of entrepreneurship as a career path versus looking for employment,” says Chimene Chetty, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Wits Business School (WBS). “It takes courage to take the plunge into becoming and entrepreneur, and there are often so many questions. This initiative, involving both Wits and WBS, aims to make entrepreneurship accessible and easy to understand by breaking it down into ‘bite sized chunks’.”

Framed as ‘iEntrepreneur’, the programme will focus on the following ‘I’s’:

  • Information – answering questions on where entrepreneurial support exists at Wits and elsewhere, start-up toolkits, compliance guidance and funding options;
  • Ideas and innovations – focusing on business ideas that are making waves at present; simple solutions that have been built into successful start-ups, and national initiatives and agencies that support innovation;
  • Implementation and impact – how to make those ‘out there’ ideas concrete and gain maximum impact in the market.

SEW, driven by WBS’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, will include 15 events focusing on all things entrepreneurial, including presentations by entrepreneurs and practitioners, research findings, workshops, pitching sessions, a student market and various displays.

SEW will take place at four university venues: The Wits Tshimologong Precinct, the Transnet Matlafatso Centre, Science Park and the Wits Business School.

One of the ‘must attends’, according to Chetty, is a discussion with Stafford Maisie, former Google SA CEO and entrepreneur, and innovator of and innovator of Absa Bank’s Payment Pebble.

“We started the ball rolling in March after the DHET shared with us its vision of advancing entrepreneurial ecosystems and entrepreneurial education in Higher Education Institutions, at a Legotla. Various partners immediately jumped on board, including the Tshimologong Precinct, the Transnet Matlafatso Centre, Wits Enterprise and the Wits SRC, all sharing the same vision,” says Chetty.

“It is imperative that we encourage and support more young people to step into the space of start-ups, considered the weakest link in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This initiative is about creating awareness, demystifying what it means to start a business and to inspire students and increase their appetite for entrepreneurship.”

For more information on the Wits Student Entrepreneurship week please contact Sibongile Horo on 011 717 3942 or sibongile.horo@wits.ac.za. To register or see the programme, visit www.witsew.co.za.

Twitter: @WitsUniversity