Durban — Four student entrepreneurs from the University of KwaZulu-Natal have won the regional round of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Challenge (EDHE).
The EDHE was hosted by the Mangosuthu University of Technology at the Imperial Hotel, Umhlanga.
It was the second time since the inception of the EDHE that a university has taken first place in all four categories during a regional round (the University of Cape Town achieved this in 2019 in the Western Cape regional round).
The Intervarsity Challenge comprises four categories – Business Idea, Existing Tech Business, Existing Social Impact Business, and Existing General Business.
The UKZN finalists were Ntando Mtshali (Business Idea category); Dylan Naidoo (Existing Tech Business category); Luyanda Makhobo (Existing Social Impact Business category); and Tasmiyah Haffejee (Existing General Business category).
Mtshali, from the School of Health Sciences, said her business concept concerned manufacturing assistive devices for disabled people to enable them to take up employment opportunities and participate in the working environment.
Naidoo, from the School of Management, IT and Governance, said his company, Bespoke Events SA (Pty) Ltd, was a luxury event styling and set design concern. The business specialised in 3D virtual event planning, using 3D design software to create a virtual representation for their clients to enable them to customise their entire event before it took place.
Makhobo, a Master’s student in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, said her business, My Knowledge Your Knowledge NPC, provided career guidance to high school learners. The company also assists learners in submitting online applications to higher education institutions and to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
Haffejee, from the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, said her business, Boxful (Pty) Ltd, offers a monthly beauty subscription box that delivers five (or more) of the best local and international beauty products to a customer’s door.
The winners will be representing KwaZulu-Natal at the nationals of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Challenge, to be held in Joburg from November 17 to 18.
Suvina Singh, director of intellectual property and commercialisation at UKZN InQubate, the innovation office at UKZN, said: “This is a significant milestone for UKZN as we embark on our entrepreneurial journey. The students have been undergoing rigorous training through InQubate’s entrepreneurship skills programme, ENSPIRETM, in order to prepare them not only for the Intervarsity Challenge, but to run their businesses as going concerns and contribute to socio-economic upliftment.”
Khutso Ramontja, student entrepreneurship manager at UKZN InQubate, said: “I am very proud of our student-preneurs! They have done well for themselves, and have represented UKZN with complete distinction. I am quite certain that they are going to give a good account of what they are made of at the nationals.”
The competition is funded through the University Capacity Development Programme of the Department of Higher Education and Training and is supported by Universities South Africa and its partners.