Four University of KwaZulu-Natal student entrepreneurs made a clean sweep at the regional round of the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Challenge hosted by Mangosuthu University of Technology in Durban recently.
It is the second time since the inception of the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Challenge that a university has taken first place in all four categories during the regional round. It was UCT that accomplished the same in 2019 in the Western Cape regionals.
The KZN finalists, all hailing from UKZN, were Ntando Mtshali (business idea category); Dylan Naidoo (existing tech business category); Luyanda Makhobo (existing social impact business); and Tasmiyah Haffejee (existing general business category). The winners will be representing KwaZulu-Natal at the nationals of the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Challenge to be held in Johannesburg on November 17–18.
The competition is funded through the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP) of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and is supported by Universities South Africa (USAf) and its partners.
The purpose of the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Challenge is to identify the top student entrepreneurs at the 26 South African public universities, recognise and showcase their businesses, and invite investment into the student businesses while strengthening the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The competition also provides opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs in the ideation phase to pitch their innovative business ideas. In the process, universities have the opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial talent and demonstrate the ways in which they support and grow the next generation of business leaders.
The Intervarsity Challenge comprises four categories: business idea, existing tech business, existing social impact business, and existing general business. In accordance with the EDHE protocols, two winners in each category were selected to proceed to the regional round where they competed with their peers at sister universities in the region, namely Durban University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology and University of Zululand.
In the business idea category, UKZN was represented by Asanda Buthelezi from the School of Social Sciences, and Ntando Mtshali from the School of Health Sciences.
Buthelezi would like to start a hair and beauty salon business that rents out its facilities to beauticians in exchange for a monthly rental fee. Hair products and accessories, as well as Avon cosmetics and Deluxe Hair wigs, will be sold at the premises.
Mtshali’s business concept is about manufacturing assistive devices for disabled people in order to enable them to take up employment opportunities and participate in the work environment.
In the existing tech business category, Dylan Naidoo from the School of Management, IT and Governance, and Lungile Radebe, from the Graduate School of Business and Leadership, were UKZN’s representatives.
Naidoo’s company, Bespoke Events SA (Pty) Ltd, is a luxury event styling and set design company. The business specialises in 3D virtual event planning, using 3D design software to create a virtual representation for their clients to see and customise their entire event before it actually happens.
Radebe’s business, Geleza Mzanzi (Pty) Ltd, is serving as a bridging gap for matriculating pupils and gappers when applying to tertiary institutions.
In the existing social impact business, Luyanda Makhobo, a Master’s student in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, and Phakamile Mazibuko, a Master’s student in the School of Education, represented UKZN.
Makhobo’s business, My Knowledge Your Knowledge NPC, provides 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. Mazibuko’s Phakamile Mazibuko Foundation NPC runs career guidance workshops at rural schools situated in Ulundi.
The two “studentpreneur” representatives in the existing general business category were Tasmiyah Haffejee, from the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, and Nqobizwe Mahlangu, from the School of Clinical Medicine.
Haffejee’s business, Boxful (Pty) Ltd, is a monthly beauty subscription box that delivers five or more of the best local and international beauty products to a customer’s door. Their boxes include make-up, skincare and hair care products.
Mahlangu’s Medigo Medical Services (Pty) Ltd specialises in insurance risk assessment medical tests at their client’s convenience and location.
Suvina Singh, director of Intellectual Property and Commercialisation at UKZN InQubate, the innovation office at UKZN, said this was a significant milestone for UKZN as it embarks on its 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.”
Student entrepreneurship manager at UKZN InQubate Khutso Ramontja said he was very proud of their “studentpreneurs”.
“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,” he said.