The University of Pretoria (UP), in partnership with Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE), the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and other stakeholders, recently hosted a Student Entrepreneurship Week (SEW) at UP’s Hatfield Campus.
The initiative ran over four days and provided a platform for advice to students on how to juggle their start-up businesses and their studies. At a panel discussion facilitated by DHET and Universities South Africa there was a pitching competition and Juliana Scheepers, a second-year Industrial Engineering student who owns Goobies – a babysitting company – won R10 000 to expand her business.
She said she was “so grateful for the SEW team that brought all the innovative students together”.
“I used to think I was alone, the only person struggling with full-time studies and running a small business. I got to see the amazing things that other students are doing, and for me, that was truly inspiring. I’d like to thank UP for supporting student start-ups,” said Scheepers who added that she would be investing every cent to grow and improve Goobies.
Event organisers and students at Student Entrepreneurship Week
National Student Entrepreneurship Week was piloted in 2017 and was successfully executed in 2018 by public universities and some technical and vocational education and training colleges that hosted in-house programmes in partnership with business, industry and not-for-profit organisations.
The entrepreneurial and innovative actions of dynamic champions for entrepreneurship at the participating institutions made these campaigns instrumental in raising awareness around entrepreneurship as a career, as well as emphasising the benefits of having the best of both worlds as a student and an entrepreneur.
According to Makone Maja, one of the event organisers: “Our goal as student facilitators and all SEW at Tuks stakeholders is to cultivate the spirit of entrepreneurship among students at universities. To promote student innovation and problem-solving through entrepreneurial solutions and to also recognise and celebrate our existing student entrepreneurs who have taken up the entrepreneurship mantle.”
Kory Shukrani, a UP alumnus, advised young entrepreneurs to master prioritisation and constraints. She said: “The biggest constraint is time. Time management is merely self-management and you’re often going to have to look within to decide what is most important and most valuable to you and prioritise all else above that.”
She said entrepreneurship could be a very lonely road filled with sacrifice and facing the unknown, not to mention rejection and failure.
“For these reasons I think having a sense of community is necessary for well-being and business progress: being close to other entrepreneurs and mentors who can help and guide you but also a solid support system of friends and family.”