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Launch of Innovative Entrepreneurship Programme

2014/03/19 03:19:52 PM

The need for an innovative teaching and learning program which stimulates academic and creative thinking was evident by the overwhelming turnout at the launch of the Shifting Hope, Activating Potential Entrepreneurship (SHAPE) programme on the Westville campus.

Shape founder Ms Thea van der Westhuizen (far right) and eThekwini Municipality representative Ms Khosi Sithole (second right) informing students about the entrepreneurship opportunities.Shape founder Ms Thea van der Westhuizen (far right) and eThekwini Municipality representative Ms Khosi Sithole (second right) informing students about the entrepreneurship opportunities.

The initiative which is the brainchild of College of Law and Management Lecturer and doctoral student Ms Thea van der Westhuizen and her supervisors, Professor Kriben Pillay and Professor Shahida Cassim. The launch attracted more than 200 students who were interested in the 50 scholarships up for grabs through the SHAPE project.

SHAPE was awarded with the University Teaching and Learning Office’s “Teaching Innovation and Quality Enhancement Grant”, which enables the initiation of the program. SHAPE’s core team consist of Professor Shahida Cassim, Dr. Ziska Fields and van der Westhuizen, with several active post-graduate student team SHAPE – all from the College of Law and Management.  SHAPE is a nine-month teaching and learning programme in which second-year students learn how starting a business is not only about a business plan but also about opening one’s heart to our own values, growing our self-motivation and self-confidence. Having an open heart might help to develop students’ mind to keep on going even after failure. The program consist out of three phases where students will spend three months on campus where being exposed to various creative classroom excesses which aims to open hearts to innovation and increased levels of entrepreneurial self-confidence. During the second phase of the program, students will be placed in the business environment of the project’s sponsors, eThekwini Municipality and the Durban Chamber of Business and Industry, where they will intrapreneurially explore ways of starting a business. The last phase of the program will equip both student entrepreneurs and business professionals to potentially start-up a business.

In her address, van der Westhuizen challenged students to explore their entrepreneurship potential and take advantage of opportunities that the College of Law and Management offer to support its students.  ‘SHAPE hopes to help students to develop business dreams aligned with South Africa’s National Economic Development Vision. The program explores various systems approached where the capacitation of South Africa’s youth is key. Moreover, the fundamental to national mundo-systems development, is capacitating micro-systems. Where the mico-system is an individual’s heart and heart’s dreams while functioning within a variety of multidimensional and multi-lateral systems.”  Hopefully students will leave UKZN with a good academic qualification and an own business in development.

A strategic partnership between the Municipality and UKZN will see the Municipality’s Business Support Unit based at the University for two hours a week while the project is running. This will allow students easy access to mentors who will nurture their business skills. The Units representative Ms Khosi Sithole said this was the first initiative they were involved in as partners to increase collaboration between the business sector and academia.

‘It is our responsibility to ensure there is access to information and sharing of skills between SMMEs, business and students as they all play a vital role in growing the economy. That is why we are delighted to work with UKZN initiatives such as these and we are hoping to collaborate on other mutually beneficial programmes to enhance the spirit of entrepreneurship in KZN,’ said Sithole.

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