• National Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2020

The Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) programme is hosting the second annual national Entrepreneurship Intervarsity from January to July 2020. The competition is funded through the University Capacity Development Programme of the Department Higher Education and Training (DHET) and is supported by Universities South Africa (USAf) and its partners.

How it works?

The purpose of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity is to identify the top student entrepreneurs at the South African public universities, recognise and showcase their businesses, and invite investment into this cohort of student businesses. The competition also provides opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs in the ideation phase to pitch their innovative business ideas. In the process, universities will have the opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial talent and demonstrate the ways in which they support and grow the next generation of business leaders.

Studentpreneurs are invited to submit their innovative ideas or existing businesses in one of the following four categories:

  • Category 1: Business Ideas
    The purpose of this category is to attract potential entrepreneurs to test their business ideas with experienced judges. Category 1 is the only category for businesses that do not yet exist, but are simply good ideas that make business sense. Potential studentpreneurs with business ideas that are likely to be self-sustaining and profitable are invited to enter their ideas for product or service-based businesses. Contestants should ideally present innovative approaches to solving problems, while being financially sustainable. Existing or operational businesses may not be entered into this category.
  • Category 2: Existing Business – Tech
    Studentpreneurs with existing technology-based businesses (hardware and/or software, formal or informal, products and/or services) are invited to enter their businesses in Category 2. Qualifying entries should provide a track record of technology-based businesses that are already revenue-generating, with the promise of becoming financially sustainable in the foreseeable future. The following types of businesses would be well-suited to this category: 4IR-based solutions and platforms; energy solutions; health and medical solutions; agricultural solutions; fintech solutions; water solutions; femtech solutions; mining solutions; service delivery solutions; educational solutions; security solutions (cyber and physical); and other businesses based on technology.

  • Category 3: Existing Business – Social Impact
    This category is positioned for existing businesses that provide solutions (technical or non-technical) to social challenges, where the explicit social impact is the reason for the existence of the business. These businesses might be formal or informal and for-profit or not-for-profit. Regardless of the nature of qualifying businesses, these businesses should be revenue generating, have the potential of becoming self-sustaining entities, should not be donor-dependent (e.g. charities) or be based on limited-timeframe project(s). The social impact of the business should not simply be a potential or secondary outcome of the business activities, but should be the motive and reason for the existence of the business.
  • Category 4: Existing Business – General
    Category 4 is open to all existing formal or informal businesses that are not primarily tech or social impact businesses. Qualifying entries should be entrepreneurial, income-generating and potentially self-sustaining, such as those of musicians, fashion designers, artists, food vendors, beauty services, etc.

Please note that some entries might meet the requirements for more than one category, i.e. Categories 2 and 3, 2 and 4, 3 and 4. Studentpreneurs and their university coordinators need to carefully consider whether the primary objective of the business is aligned with the category it is entered for. Judges reserve the right to recategorise entries as they deem relevant.

The Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2020 is open to university students from all of the 26 South African public universities. The competition is open to currently registered undergraduate and postgraduate students across all disciplines. Full-time and part-time students are welcome to participate

Due to challenges in terms of scale, logistics and finances, studentpreneurs from TVET colleges can at this stage regrettably not be included in the competition. Contestants have to meet the following criteria to be eligible for participation:

All categories

  1. Be enrolled as an undergraduate or postgraduate student for the current academic year in any of the 26 public universities at the time of submitting an entry to the competition. Both full-time and part-time enrolment is acceptable.
  2. Be in good academic standing, as confirmed by Entrepreneurship Intervarsity coordinators at the University in question.
  3. Contestants who are postgraduate students are eligible to participate only if having continually been enrolled in a university following their undergraduate degree.

Categories 2 to 5

  1. Be the owner, founder or controlling shareholder of the existing business entered for Categories 2-5 of the competition and be principally responsible for its operation. Each business can be represented by only one person.
  2. The business entered into the competition must have been in operation for at least three consecutive months prior to entering the competition.
  3. The business entered into the competition must have generated an income or received some form of investment at the time of entering the competition.

Students who have an idea or business with real commercial potential, are well positioned to participate in the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2020. In the context of today’s competitive employment and commercial market, taking part in the national Entrepreneurship Intervarsity provides excellent exposure that broadens the horizons of studentpreneurs, introduce them to new business networks and expand their skillsets. Contestants learn a lot and potentially grow in self-esteem.

Regional winners receive an exclusive invitation – travel and accommodation included – to pitch their businesses in the national finals and attend the prestigious EDHE Awards 2020. These finalists have ample opportunity to network with like-minded peers, given that they spend two days with the top studentpreneurs from across the country. In the process, valuable business connections and friendships are developed.

Category winners in the national finals not only walk away with cash prizes, but also qualify for business support and mentorship to develop their business ideas and/or grow their winning businesses.

The overall winner of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2020 walks away with prize money to the value of R100 000 and the coveted title of national Studentpreneur of the Year 2020.

Adjudication criteria will be adapted to be relevant to each category and will consistently be applied throughout the three rounds of the competition. Adjudicators will be carefully selected and will meet specific criteria. Consistency and fairness will be ensured by EDHE representatives throughout and the final round will be monitored by a qualified auditor.

In the adjudication process a number of different factors will be considered, including the following:

Is the business model clear and feasible?

Has the business been tested in the market yet?

Who is the target market and how is the business positioned to reach its target market?

How is the business different from its competitors?

Is the business opportunity realistically achievable?

Register Here


  • Mr Linda Dhladhla (Youth & Communications)

  • +27 12 030 0675

  • edhe@usaf.ac.za

How it Works?

The Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2020 is open from the official launch on the 21st of January until the 2nd of March 2020. The competition consists an easy online entry and of three rounds: university internal rounds, regional rounds and the grand finale, the national final round in Pretoria on Monday 6 July 2020.

View the Process



Register and Submit your Entry

Register your entry by completing and submitting the preliminary entry form. You can choose from four categories, as mentioned above.

Next you will receive a response from the competition coordinators. Entries are reviewed by the competition coordinators at each of the 26 public universities. Only those entries that meet the requirements as stated above will be accepted to participate in the internal round of the competition. Please note that only fully completed entries will be accepted.

The status of your entry can be checked in your profile menu on the website. All  submitted entries are saved and can be accessed again at any time. Please note that no changes can be made once your entry has been submitted.


Internal University Round

Contestants who have received confirmation that their entries have been accepted, will be shortlisted and invited to pitch their ideas or businesses in an internal university round, hosted by the coordinator/s at the university where they are registered students.

The university coordinators will communicate the date and time of the internal university round.



The winners of the each of the four categories in the internal university rounds proceed to represent their institutions in the regional rounds – a considerable achievement already.

Contestants in the regional rounds will again pitch their ideas or businesses, this time to a panel of expert judges from the region. Winners of the regional rounds will be selected by the panel of judges and will then proceed to represent their regions in the national finals.


National Final

The winner of each category from each region will qualify to participate in the national final round of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2020 on the 6th of July 2020 in Pretoria. They will be transported and accommodated for two days as the guests of EDHE, while they participate in the finals, attend the third annual Studentpreneurs Indaba as VIP guests on the 7th of July, and are introduced to stakeholders and media at the prestigious EDHE Awards 2020. At this event, the category winners and national Studentpreneur of the Year will be announced, along with the winning university.