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African Renaissance Conference 2017

                                                  

Entrepreneurship at Tertiary Institutions

Dr Irrshad Kaseeram
A University of Zululand Case- Study
A University of Zululand Case Study.pdf (185.6KB)
Dr Irrshad Kaseeram
A University of Zululand Case- Study
A University of Zululand Case Study.pdf (185.6KB)

 

Prof Deresh Ramjugernath
University of KwaZulu-Natal
4.Ramjugernath - African Renaissance Panel Discussion - 26 May 2015.pdf (303.4KB)
Prof Deresh Ramjugernath
University of KwaZulu-Natal
4.Ramjugernath - African Renaissance Panel Discussion - 26 May 2015.pdf (303.4KB)
Prof Burton Mwamila
Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology
May15 - (ARC) Entrepreneurship at Tertiary Institutions.pdf (1.56MB)
Prof Burton Mwamila
Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology
May15 - (ARC) Entrepreneurship at Tertiary Institutions.pdf (1.56MB)
Prof Ahmed Bawa
Durban University of Technology
1.RC - Entrepreneurial Conference (MR BAWA) 1ST.pdf (198.63KB)
Prof Ahmed Bawa
Durban University of Technology
1.RC - Entrepreneurial Conference (MR BAWA) 1ST.pdf (198.63KB)






Critical for every educational institution to teach entrepreneurship

Nicola Jenvey

Entrepreneurship was both a science and an art and tertiary institutions had to tackle the challenges in balancing the theory found in the first and found in the practical found in the second, University of Zululand deputy dean research and innovation Irrshad Kaseeram said.

Addressing the debate of entrepreneurship at tertiary institutions during the African Renaissance conference this week, Kaseeram said it was critical for every educational institution to teach entrepreneurship as it was the “praxis (vehicle) for change”

Small businesses had the capacity to create massive employment opportunities as South East Asia and South America had already demonstrated. Entrepreneurship covered small medium and macro enterprises, larger ventures and individualism, while in the African context it also embraced co-operatives.

However, the Global Entrepreneur Monitor Report 2014 showed South Africa’s total entrepreneurship activity as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) dropped to 6.97 percent in 2014 form 10.6 percent in 2013. The number of adults in entrepreneurial ventures dropped to 2.68 percent (2013: 2.9 percent)

Kaseeram said to meet South Africa’s GDP targets, 14 percent of economic activities should come from entrepreneurial ventures with 4.5 percent of adults being engaged in these initiatives. If the country was operating at the 14 percent required, the average South African household income would rise by R5 000 annually. Currently the country had six billionaires, 87 centi-millionaires and 46 800 dollar millionaires with the bulk of this held by white or Indian South Africans. Correspondingly, the majority of poor citizens were black.

Into this context Kaseeram said that entrepreneurship could be trained at universities, but there had to be a balance between science (theory) and arts (practical).

Taking that to a practical level, Durban University of Technology (DUT) vice-chancellor Ahmed Bawa said the university was accepting its role as being an engine for entrepreneurship and DUT was providing opportunities for graduates to balance theory and practical.

“They cannot leave the institution with just ideas, but also need the ability to apply them. This means creating eco-systems of entrepreneurship at DUT,” he said.

Several entrepreneurial projects within the institution included the workspace initiative that saw students operating businesses (all the university’s business cards are printed by students as an example); the software factory, health clinics and toy factory. Bawa did not elaborate on the last three elements.

“We must be completely absorbed by the challenge to understand if our products (graduates) are what the world wants while being aware South Africa has a very high unemployment rate. This is not a sustainable situation and it is not a good solution to think the government will create jobs- that is the role for a new generation of entrepreneurs,”Bawa said.

However, the university did not operate as an island and it was critical for there to be interaction between the city and educational institutions. Cities had to be increasingly technology-sensitive such that the youth could understand technology was not something happening in laboratories, but in their everyday lives.

Mangosuthu University of Technology vice-chancellor Mashupye Kgaphola said the fact million Africans would be urbanised by 2016 was both challenging and rewarding. It placed significant pressure on urban living space and infrastructure, but also created the environment for opportunities and innovations to flourish.

“Universities are grappling with the challenge in being part of the solution to unemployment,” he said.

Traditionally this had been achieved by “tinkering” with the curriculum, but Kgaphola said tertiary institutions were realising this approach was no longer working. The answer lay in creating “a new cadre of graduates”.

“We need to recognise mistakes are the opportunities to learn something new,” he said.