The students from Mangosuthu University of Technology. Photo: Supplied

DURBAN – Students from Mangosuthu University of Technology are the 2018 winners of Cognity Advisory’s Universities Business Challenge (UBC), sponsored by General Electric (GE). 

The winning team of four students took home R50 000 to turn their business idea into reality.

Launched in July this year, the UBC has seen 500 students from 13 different universities across South Africa participate in a business simulation competition designed to develop entrepreneurship skills.

When the competition launched, all teams were challenged to form virtual companies and to virtually manufacture and sell bicycles.

The final 10 teams were from the University of Limpopo, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Vaal University of Technology, University of KwaZulu-Natal and North-West University.

The aim of the UBC was designed to tackle South Africa’s high level of youth unemployment. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced that South Africa’s official unemployment rate increased by 0.3 of a percentage point to 27.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018.

Nkosinathi Sokhulu from the winning team said, "Even though we didn’t have a great presentation we made the most profit. This experience taught us a lot about ourselves and business. Most of the decisions that we made came from serious debates. We learnt that market research is crucial when starting a business. We learnt that marketing starts and ends with the customer". 

Tope Toogun, development advisor and Chief Executive of Cognity Advisory said, "All the teams showed tremendous promise and I was very impressed by their levels of engagement with one another and their tenacity."

Togun added that the competition is designed to develop the ‘soft skills’ that are important for those wanting to set up their own business or simply be successful at work. 

The UBC, now in its second year in South Africa, will continue into its third year in 2019 and will run as the Africa Enterprise Challenge (AEC).

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