File photo: Pixels

Cape Town – With soaring youth unemployment levels, UCT, in collaboration with local web hosting company 1-grid, are assisting students in honing their entrepreneurial skills to enable them to start their own business. 

As part of an Honours level programme in Management in Entrepreneurship (PDE), the year-long course requires students to start-up and manage their own businesses. 

1-grid have partnered with the action-learning component of the course, the Genesis Project, to provide students with the resources they need to design a professional website for their new businesses. 

Each year hundreds of local and international students apply for acceptance into the PDE course, which is run out of UCT’s Faculty of Commerce. 

With just 50 spots up for grabs, only the top applicants are accepted. In addition to performing academically, students are required to form teams and build a business around their innovative solution to a real-world problem. 

“Youth unemployment is a serious issue in South Africa – we want to help young entrepreneurs go out into the world and create jobs. 

"By empowering them with the digital tools they need to start a small business, we’re enabling them to be self-sufficient – a necessary skill that any business owner could benefit from,” says head of 1-grid Thomas Vollrath. 

“The youth are our future business leaders; we see immense value in supporting them through this partnership.” 

The idea behind the programme is to expose students to the daily challenges of managing their own start-up. From ideation to execution, the course includes conceptualising a product or platform, raising the required start-up capital and taking the completed product to market. 

“Year-to-year our start-up businesses struggle with establishing an online presence,” says Stuart Hendry, Genesis Project convenor and lecturer. 

“In the digital age, creating an effective online presence for a brand is a key step in ensuring that your business is successful. With the help of the 1-grid team, our students are now in a position to do this.” 

With a focus on growing small businesses in South Africa, 1-grid offers a website building tool, SSL certificates, web security packages, domain registration, web and email hosting, website design and online marketing expertise to their customers. 

“Small businesses are vital to the growth of our economy – but they need real and affordable online expertise and support to keep their data secure and sales growing,” says Vollrath. 

2019 class participants 

Trove Clothing – a social commerce marketplace where users are able to buy and sell used clothing, shoes and accessories at an affordable rate.

Outpost - a sales directory platform that informs, unites and organises consumers with a service company tailored to their area, budget and requirements.

BYO Skin – a customisable, build-your-own cosmetic kit where customers can make their own skincare products. All products are made from cannabidiol (CBD) oil-infused natural ingredients. 

Pigeon Couriers – a unique courier service that connects people who need items delivered with self-employed drivers. 

Love Yoni – a subscription service which provides convenient and discreet feminine hygiene care boxes for young women. For every subscription box sold, a pack of pads is given to a high school girl in an underprivileged community.

For more information on online marketing for SMBs, including website design and SEO optimisation, visit www.1-grid.com