Join the national launch of the

EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2023 and unleash your entrepreneurial spirit!

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), in collaboration with Universities South Africa and through the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) programme, is hosting the fifth annual National Entrepreneurship Intervarsity from March to November 2023. This competition is funded by the University Capacity Development Programme and supported by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation and SAB Foundation.

Our Partners

Alan Gray Orbis Foundation
SAB Foundation

EDHE Intervarsity Background

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), in collaboration with Universities South Africa and through the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) programme, is hosting the fifth annual National Entrepreneurship Intervarsity from March to November 2023. This competition is funded by the University Capacity Development Programme and supported by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation and SAB Foundation.

This year, the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity is expanding with the introduction of a new category, Research-Based Businesses. This category is designed to encourage the commercialisation of research by both students and university staff, fostering innovation and supporting the development of research-based startups. The category seeks to bridge the gap between academia and industry, allowing ground-breaking ideas to be turned into successful businesses. In addition to the newly introduced Research-Based Businesses category, the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity is also growing its existing business categories, with a renewed focus on attracting investors.

The EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity is an annual competition launched in the first quarter of the year to identify and showcase the top student entrepreneurs at South African public universities, as well as to invite investment to support student businesses. The competition includes four categories: Innovative Business Ideas, Existing Business – Tech, Existing Business – Social Impact, and Existing Business – General. This year, the competition will introduce Research-Based Business as the fifth category to encourage the commercialisation of research.

Students from all 26 public South African universities are eligible to participate in the competition by submitting their entries in one or more of the categories. The number of successful submissions has been growing steadily over the years, from 1,155 in 2019 to 1,545 in 2020, 1,468 in 2021, and 1,682 in 2022.

The EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity is a platform designed to identify, recognise and showcase the top student entrepreneurs at South African public universities. Its primary objective is to encourage entrepreneurship, which is a valuable skill for students to develop, and to inspire universities to support student businesses. The competition is an excellent opportunity for students to learn from the perspectives of entrepreneurs and investors, gain valuable guidance, and obtain a great learning experience.

The EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity is a platform for students to demonstrate their independence, creativity, determination, business savvy, and communication skills. Through the competition, students can gain exposure and recognition for their businesses and attract investment to support their growth.

The competition plays a crucial role in driving the development of the South African economy by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. These two key drivers of economic growth can create jobs and stimulate economic activity, making this competition an essential platform for the country’s growth.

To ensure fairness and consistency in the judging process, clear guidelines and criteria are provided, including an application process and assessment criteria that evaluate the business ideas’ potential for growth and impact. Clarity is a top priority to ensure that all participants understand the requirements and can compete on an equal footing.

Engagement is a vital aspect of the competition, with a range of events and activities designed to engage participants, investors, and stakeholders. These include networking opportunities, workshops, and mentorship programs that support and guide aspiring entrepreneurs. Delivery is critical to the success of the competition, with a robust and efficient system in place to manage the application process, judging, and selection of winners. The organisers are dedicated to delivering a high-quality event that showcases the best of South African student entrepreneurship and encourages the growth and development of the next generation of business leaders. By supporting student businesses, the competition can contribute significantly to the country’s economic future.

The competition is designed with five distinct categories, providing opportunities for diverse groups of students to participate and benefit. Studentpreneurs are invited to submit their innovative ideas or existing businesses in one of the following four categories:

  • Category 1: New Business Ideas
    This category is for students who are still considering entrepreneurship but have a promising business idea.
  • Category 2: Existing Business – Tech
    This category is intended for those who are passionate about technology-based businesses.
  • Category 3: Existing Business – Social Impact
    This category caters for social entrepreneurs, offering an opportunity to pitch their startups that focus on social impact.
  • Category 4: Existing Business – General
    Is available for any other type of business accepted according to the competition Terms and Conditions.
  • Category 5: Research-Based Businesses
    Finally, the competition organisers have recently introduced a category that is designed to encourage the commercialisation of research by both students and university staff. This new category seeks to foster innovation and support the development of research-based startups.

The EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2023 welcomes university students from all 26 South African public universities to participate in the competition. Currently registered undergraduate and postgraduate students across all disciplines are eligible to participate, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time students.

Regrettably, due to logistical, scale, and financial challenges, studentpreneurs from TVET colleges cannot participate in the competition at this stage. To be eligible for participation, participants must meet the following criteria:

a) For all categories:

  • Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or postgraduate student at 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.
  • Be in good academic standing, as confirmed by the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Student Entrepreneurship Coordinators at the university in question.
  • Postgraduate students are eligible to participate only if they have been continuously enrolled in a university following their undergraduate degree.

b) For Categories 2 to 5:

  • Be the owner, founder, or controlling shareholder of the existing business entered into Categories 2 – 4 of the competition, and be primarily responsible for its operation. Each business can only be represented by one person throughout the competition.
  • The business entered into the competition must have been in operation for at least three consecutive months before entering the competition.
  • The business entered into the competition must have generated income or received some form of investment at the time of entering the competition.

The EDHE Intervarsity competition offers an exceptional platform for student entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas and receive recognition for their hard work. Here are some reasons why student entrepreneurs should consider participating in the competition:

  • Exposure: By participating in the competition, student entrepreneurs can showcase their innovative ideas to a wider audience, which can help them gain media attention, investment opportunities, and potential customers.
  • Networking: The EDHE Intervarsity competition provides an opportunity for student entrepreneurs to network with fellow entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders. This can help them gain valuable contacts and insights into the industry.
  • Feedback: Student entrepreneurs can receive feedback on their ideas, business plans, and presentations, which can be used to improve their business ideas and strategies.
  • Funding opportunities: The competition provides funding opportunities for student entrepreneurs to further develop their ideas and turn them into successful businesses.
  • Skills development: Participating in the competition provides an opportunity for student entrepreneurs to develop their pitching and presentation skills, which are essential for the success of any business.
  • Recognition: Winning the EDHE Intervarsity competition can provide student entrepreneurs with recognition and credibility, which can help in attracting potential investors, customers, and partners.

Overall, the EDHE Intervarsity competition can be a valuable experience for student entrepreneurs looking to gain exposure, network, receive feedback, access funding opportunities, and develop their skills.

The role of the EDHE Student Entrepreneurship Coordinators at South African 26 public universities towards advancing student entrepreneurship and supporting students to participate in the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity is crucial. Serving as a liaison between EDHE and their respective universities, these Coordinators carry out a variety of roles, including:

  • Promoting the competition: One of the primary roles of the Coordinators is to promote the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition among students at their universities. This involves creating awareness about the competition and encouraging students to participate.
  • Assisting with entries: The Coordinators also help students with submitting their entries for the competition. This includes providing guidance on the submission process, and ensuring that entries are complete and meet the competition requirements.
  • Reviewing Applications: The Coordinators will review applications submitted by students, ensuring they meet the competition criteria. They also approve successful applications for the internal university rounds.
  • Preparing students for pitching: The Coordinators help students get ready to pitch their businesses, providing support in developing their business ideas, and honing their pitching skills.
  • Hosting Internal Rounds: The Coordinators host internal rounds at their universities, where students present their business ideas to a panel of judges. The winners of the internal rounds then proceed to the regional rounds.
  • Due diligence: The university Coordinator is responsible for conducting due diligence on businesses going to the regional rounds, which involves verifying the legitimacy of each business, including checking business ownership and ensuring compliance with competition Terms and Conditions.

Overall, the EDHE Student Entrepreneurship Coordinators play a vital role in supporting student entrepreneurship in the 26 public universities. By promoting and facilitating participation in the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition, they help students develop their entrepreneurial skills and bring their innovative ideas to life. This, in turn, can lead to the creation of new businesses, job opportunities, and economic growth.

The adjudication process will consider several factors, including the feasibility of the business model, the target market, and the level of investment made in the business thus far. The adjudicators will be carefully selected and will meet specific criteria. The process will ensure consistency and fairness throughout. The regional and final rounds will be monitored by qualified auditors.

During the adjudication process, various factors will be taken into consideration, such as:

  • Clarity and Feasibility of Business Model: Is the business model clear and practical? Does it make sense and is it reasonable?
  • Market Testing: Has the business been tested in the market yet? What were the results? How does this impact the potential success of the business?
  • Target Market and Positioning: Who is the target market for the business, and how is the business positioned to reach this market? What makes the business stand out from its competitors?
  • Realistic Business Opportunity: Is the business opportunity realistically achievable, given the current market conditions and potential challenges?
  • Investment in Business: What investment has been made in the business so far, and what are the expected returns on investment?
  • Capital Investment Required: How much up-front capital investment is required to get the business up and running?
  • Team and Roles: Is there a team involved in the business, and what are the roles and responsibilities of each team member?
  • Time to Market: How long will it take from the current stage of development to bring the business to market?
  • Leading Position in Market: Can the business realistically achieve a leading position in the market, given its competitors and potential challenges?

Overall, the adjudication criteria aim to evaluate the potential success of the business, its feasibility, and its ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

National oversight of the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2023 is the responsibility of a dedicated task team consisting of representatives from the competition partners and sponsors, the EDHE Studentpreneurs Community of Practice, the EDHE Community of Practice for Student Entrepreneurship, and the organising team from the EDHE office at Universities South Africa (USAf). The task team is responsible for approving the rules of the competition, the terms and conditions, the adjudication criteria for each category, and the appointment of judges as well as the auditors. Logistic planning and organising of internal and regional events are the responsibility of university Student Entrepreneurship Coordinators in each institution and region respectively. National organisation and coordination are the responsibility of the organising team from the EDHE office, and specifically Mr Sandile Shabalala, the Senior Student Engagement Officer.

University Coordinators

Ms Annelie Steenkamp

Dr Rita Klonaridis

Ms Mimi Tsosane

Ms Mmatshepo Rathebe

Ms Gail Motlhaudi

Mr Fattinald Rangongo

Mr Mojaki Mothibi

Ms Mamoya Khotha

Mr Bhekumusa Zikhali

Mr David Kutwane Kareli

Ms Khanyisile Blaai

Mr Sipumelele Ntshebe

Sabelo Malindisa

Prof Tshidi Mohapeloa

Ms Carol Dineo Diale

Ms Nasiphi Faxi

Mr Thobani Mesani

Karen Snyman

Lonwabo Myoli

Mr Dzulani Munzhelele

Ms Pangomsa Ntonjane

Mr Athenkosi Matshini

Adv. Vuyo Zamikhaya Siko

Ms Ntombekhaya Ntisa

Ms Beverly Seima

Mr Tshegofatso Mogaladi

Ms Neo Tiamo

Mr Risuna Maluleke

Ms Kristan Sharpley

Ms Oageng Juliet Mokoka

Nthabeleng Mmako

Ms Elizabeth Masoleng

Mr Thabang Hangwane

Ms Caro Buitendag

Dr Teboho Tsebe

Ms Naledi Mathole

Ms Thabile Mtsweni

Ms Dikeledi Thipe

Dr Senoelo Nkhase

Bonolo Kau

Mr Taurai Hungwe

Mrs Simphiwe Sthembile Gumede

Mr Ntuthuko Ndebele

Ms Thabile Ndaba

Mr Thintani Mphiliseni

Dr Ayansola Ayandibu

Mr Siphesihle Nkonde

Mrs Ntombifuthi Mthembu

Mr Jimmy Mohale

Ms Tokiso Mamabolo

Mrs Makole Magoro

Mrs Grace Ramavhona

Dr Azwifaneli Nemushungwa

Dr Ogujiuba Kanayo

Ms Ilze Macdonald

Mrs Melody Chiume

Ms Nadia Waggie

Ms Algeatha Carolus

Ms Algeatha Carolus

Ms Rethabile Phorie

Ms Wendy Mehl

Ms Anelisiwe Magadla

Mr Daniel Maloba

How it Works?

The official launch of the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2023 is on the 13th of  March, with entries open until the 14th of April 2023. The competition consists of three stages: the entry period, university internal rounds, regional rounds, and the national finals in Gauteng on November 30th, 2023.



Register and Submit your Entry

13 March – 14 April 2023

Go to, the EDHE website and follow instructions to the registration page for the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2022.

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.



Selection period:
14 April – 05 May 2023

University Internal Rounds :
08 May – 30 June 2023

Participants 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, time and format of the internal university round.



18 Sept. – 27 Oct. 2023

The winners of each of the four categories in the internal university rounds proceed to represent their institutions in the regional rounds. This third stage of the competition will take place between September 18th and October 27th, 2023. Participants in the regional rounds will pitch their ideas or businesses to a panel of expert judges from the region. The winners of this round will be selected by the panel of judges and will proceed to represent their region and university in the national finals.

The regions are as follows:

Region 1:
Western Cape: UWC, UCT, CPUT, SU

Region 2:
Gauteng: UJ, TUT, UP, WITS, SMU

Region 3:

Region 4:
Central: SPU, VUT, NWU, UFS, CUT

Region 5:

Region 6:
Eastern Cape: RHODES, WSU, NMU, UFH


National Final

One-one coaching:
07 – 10 Nov. 2023

National Final Rounds:
30 Nov. 2023

The winner of each category from each region will qualify to participate in the national final round of the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity 2022 taking place in 17 November 2022 in Gauteng. They will be transported and accommodated for two days as the guests of EDHE, while they participate in the finals, and will be introduced to stakeholders and media at the prestigious EDHE Awards 2022. At this event, the category winners and national Studentpreneur of the Year will be announced, along with the winning university.