When Ms Mashoto Mphahlele (left), final year media studies student at the University of Limpopo, walked onto stage to present her thriving cosmetics business, she was shaking so badly she couldn’t breathe.

But the Programme Director and National Coordinator of the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2021, Ms Linda Lindani, eased her out of her nerves. Mphahlele, founder of Mash Organics, which makes 100% handmade organic skin and hair care products, stood head and shoulders over the other entrants.

Explaining that her company specialises in African black soap and unrefined shea butter products — known to treat skin and hair problems like acne, hyperpigmentation, and hair loss, won her the R20 000 prize. It was no mean feat considering that 18 of the 26 South African public universities this year submitted a record 4000 entries that were whittled down to 150 at regional level, leaving just 28 finalists.