Mr Evans Serumula is a Diploma in Marketing student at the Tshwane University of Technology and the founder of Still Motes Africa – Media and Marketing company.

More importantly, he is the winner of the EDHE Student Design competition that was run in the university sector to promote the Student Entrepreneurship Week 2022 (#SEW 2022).

On 15 June 2022, the Enterprise Development in Higher Education (EDHE) programme launched a Student Design Competition for which they invited students across the 26 public universities to design a poster promoting the anticipated Student Entrepreneurship Week 2022, which was coming up in August. The competition ran until 08 July 2022 with monetary prizes being offered to winners in first, second and third places.  EDHE intended to use the winning artwork as the official identifier (look and feel) for the #SEW2022 event.

Serumula’s design (above) won the competition, earning him the first prize of R5 000.

Winning alongside him were Mr Katlego Nkosi (2nd from right) from the University of the Free State, whose design came second, attracting R3 000 in prize money, and Ms Phakamile Mazibuko (3rd from left) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, whose design won in third position, fetching a prize of R2 000. The winners were announced at the EDHE Studentpreneurs Indaba 2022 which took place on 22 July 2022, following the EDHE Lekgotla 2022 that was hosted by Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape.

With his design gracing the #SEW 2022 banners and other promotional platforms, it was natural to invite Mr Serumula (left) to address the audience at the national launch event.

Speaking on Designing for Success at last week’s #SEW 2022 national launch at the University of Venda in Thohoyandou, Serumula urged studentpreneurs to not lose sight of self-branding and self-representation as they contemplate starting businesses. He led his talk with a reference to the Biblical concept of creation, saying the Creator instilled unique characteristics in everything that he created, and was particular about it all.

A graphic designer himself, Serumula said similarly, designers strive to build and manage identities, aiming to design for success. “Everybody has a preferred, deliberate look,” he said. “And when we design, we tell a story.”  Making an example of South Africa’s national flag he asked: “What comes to mind? The colours on it and the meanings they symbolise – the struggles of our country and our journey in democracy…every design presents its own story.”

Thus, he emphasised the need for business owners to create logos that tell a distinct story and set them apart. He said a business with a good story but lacks proper representation and branding risks being forgotten.

What it means to design for success

“Designing for success is not only about designing the best, but also creating an image that will build a strong identity and tell your story better.” He sees every design as an opportunity to build for success, whether it involves an event or a company look,” he said, adding that the trick lies in the designer understanding the honour bestowed upon them through that assignment.

In a way, he was cautioning studentpreneurs against commissioning the services of any person who purports to be a designer. He advocated for designers who understand the depth of creativity.

In conclusion, Serumula reminded the students that, just as they strive to present themselves in a particular manner in public, they should take a similar approach in presenting their businesses.

“When you are an entrepreneur and you take your business seriously, adopt a look that builds trust in prospective clients and partners.”

With the national launch event now completed, universities are expected to go on to host their individual #SEW2022 events for what remains of August until 30 September 2022.

Nqobile Tembe is a Communication Consultant contracted to Universities South Africa.

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