It is that time of the year when the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Programme hosts the annual EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity national finals in Gauteng. At the fourth edition of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity, starting tomorrow, 24 finalists will be battling it out for the much-coveted R100 000 cash grand prize. 

This event is the climax of a journey started with institutionally based competitions in February. Winners from all 26 public universities then graduated to regional rounds at which the 24 finalists were selected. The finals take place from 17 to 18 November 2022 at The Premier Hotel in Kempton Park, on the East Rand in Gauteng.   

The EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity identifies top student entrepreneurs at South Africa’s public universities, recognises and showcases their businesses and grants them access and exposure to potential investors. The competition also enables aspiring entrepreneurs to present their innovative business ideas. Ultimately, the Intervarsity allows universities to exhibit their entrepreneurial talent and the extent to which they nurture and support student entrepreneurship.

As per tradition, students are competing in four categories, namely: innovative business ideas; existing business (technological); existing business (social impact); and existing business (general). Each category offers a cash prize of R20 000 and, from one of the four victors, the winner of the prestigious Studentpreneur of the Year Award, worth R100 000, will be selected.  

Mr Sandile Shabalala, EDHE Senior Student Engagement Officer and this event organiser, overall, is marvelling at the extent to which this competition has influenced the growth of student entrepreneurship at the universities. For an example, he mentions the University of Mpumalanga, an institution less than a decade old, which has secured three of the 24 places in the finals. He adds that all things considered, the programme has this year emphasised quality over quantity, more than ever before. 

The 2022 finalists are listed below.

Innovative Business Ideas Existing Business: Tech Existing Business: Social Impact Existing Business: General
Ms Alina Ntsiapane, University of the Free State Mr Jabulani Mabuza, University of the Free State Mr Siphamandla Mhlope, University of the Free State Mr Johan van Rooyen, North-West University
Mr Eugene Ndlovu, University of Johannesburg Ms Faith Mokgalaka, University of the Witwatersrand Ms Andile Matukane, Tshwane University of Technology Mr Lehlohonolo Kgopa, University of the Witwatersrand
Mr Matimba Mabonda, University of Cape Town Mr Asonele Gevenga, University of Cape Town Ms Munashe Dzitiki, University of the Western Cape Ms Nicole Kriek, University of Cape Town
Ms Ntando Mtshali, University of KwaZulu-Natal Mr Dylan Naidoo, University of KwaZulu-Natal Ms Luyanda Makhoba, University of KwaZulu-Natal Ms Tasmiyah Haffejee, University of KwaZulu-Nata
Ms Ng’thabseni Mpanza, University of Mpumalanga Mr Penwell Silinda, University of Mpumalanga Mr Kgantshi Ramatlale, University of Limpopo Ms Jesse Steyn, University of Mpumalanga
Ms Siphosethu Mgwili, Walter Sisulu University Ms Kelly Damons, Nelson Mandela University Mr Benathi Makiyela, University of Fort Hare Ms Nicole Louw, Nelson Mandela University

Shabalala says all studentpreneurs who made it to the regionals benefitted enormously from the process. “They received detailed feedback from the judges and engaged extensively with the audiences as they answered questions,” he says. “The studentpreneurs also exchanged peer-to-peer advice on how to juggle study and business schedules.” 

A two-minute clip of the Gauteng regional round that was hosted at the University of the Witwatersrand, may be viewed here:

For the competition’s success, the Senior Student Engagement Officer commends university executives who provided immense support. He singles out Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Cape Town; Professor Sibusiso Moyo, who was still Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement at the Durban University of Technology until recently; Dr Manyane Makua, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning at the Mangosuthu University of Technology; Professor Elphina Cishe, Rector at the Mthatha Campus of Walter Sisulu University; Mr Themba Hlaso, Executive Director: Student Affairs at the University of the Free State; Professor Lynn Morris, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University of the Witwatersrand; Dr David Phaho, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology; Dr Johan van Koller, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Resource and Planning at the Mangosuthu University of Technology; and Professor Jesika Singh, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Partnerships at the University of Limpopo. 

Shabalala also lauds the unity displayed by the Eastern Cape region, which held their regional round last. Adding that university coordinators persevered together through challenges, Shabalala vows that the EDHE Programme will never be the same in future, thanks to the commitment displayed by all institutions. 

EDHE Awards 2022

The Thursday programme will be dedicated to listening to students’ business pitching and the related adjudication process. Students will also hear from the event partners, namely Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, SAB Foundation and Entrepreneurs’ Organisation.  Friday, the 18th of November will see the winning studentpreneurs being announced alongside outstanding entrepreneurship champions at public universities. The entrepreneurship Winning University 2022 will also be declared on this date. 

The EDHE Intervarsity 2022 will be held in person and live streamed on EDHE YouTube and Facebook platforms.  The event may be accessed online via the links below: 

For Thursday, 17 November:

For Friday, 18 November:

More information may be obtained from EDHE Awards 2022. 

Nqobile Tembe is a Communication Consultant at Universities South Africa.

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