MEC Sihle Zikalala delivering his keynote address at the launch of the student entrepreneurship programme. 
Photo: Supplied
MEC Sihle Zikalala delivering his keynote address at the launch of the student entrepreneurship programme. Photo: Supplied
The winner of the competition with the MEC Sihle Zikalala and the staff from the university. 
Photo: Supplied
The winner of the competition with the MEC Sihle Zikalala and the staff from the university. Photo: Supplied
The University of KwaZulu-Natal has launched a student entrepreneurship programme. 
Photo: Supplied
The University of KwaZulu-Natal has launched a student entrepreneurship programme. Photo: Supplied
DURBAN - The University of KwaZulu-Natal has launched a student entrepreneurship programme where the students presented Dragon's Den-like pitches to a panel of judges.

The entrepreneurs had to pitch their business ideas to a panel of venture capitalists, hoping that they will get investment finance or seed money from them.

This event was obviously a bit different because it was a competition where 10 innovators and entrepreneurs got the opportunity to do their "elevator pitch" to a panel of five judges instead of venture capitalists.

The contestants had 3 minutes to do "elevator pitches" of their business ideas for the judges and then the judges had 2 minutes to ask the contestants questions.

The ideas that were presented to the judges ranged from an app that provides tutoring services to a sustainable water recycling project.

In the end, the three winning ideas was a career app idea, using technology to help grow food and bioplastics from chicken feathers.

The ten contestants will now go on to be a part of the entrepreneurship programme run by the university where they will be paired with experienced business mentors.


The launch was held at the university and the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala was the key speaker.

The MEC highlighted the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship. He said that both innovation and entrepreneurship were important factors that could help the economy grow.

He also said that entrepreneurship is important because some of the careers that students are studying for right now might not exist in the next fifteen years according to research done on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Professor Deresh Ramjugernath the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research at UKZN said that African universities need to think outside of the box.

The professor explained that universities need to change their mindset, push the boundaries and evolve. According to the professor, universities need to create well-rounded individuals that can help grow the economy.

This entrepreneurship programme is a first of kind because it is an entrepreneurship programme run by the university.



- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE