30 November 2021

The two-day workshop, hosted by the UMP Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator (CFERI), showcased entrepreneurship as an alternative to formal employment and helped learners to discover how they can make the most of their academics alongside the business world. 

Opening the event, Dean of Students, Dr Paul Maminza said the university will keep delivering workshops that empower students with knowledge to make it in life. “These opportunities will go a long way for students. We collaborate with the strategic partners because they have a major influence on how UMP grows. As UMP, we inject a lot of resources to the CFERI for the benefit of our students,” he said. 

Delivering the keynote address at the informative and interactive workshop, Nelspruit (SEDA) Information Officer, Ms Nelisiwe Makama advised students to have an entrepreneurial mindset, which will enable them to identify and make the most of opportunities presented to them.

“There is this fixed mindset, which hinders people from reaching their full potential. You need to move to a state of mind that says: ‘you are in control of your abilities’. This positive mindset will assist you to overcome setbacks and empower you with the will do more,” said Ms Makama. 

UMPThe panel of judges that adjudicated on the student business ideas.

Ms Makama continued to explain that an entrepreneurial mindset is needed to identify business gaps. “If somebody else can start a business and succeed, you too can do it and make a success of it. When we talk about idea generation, someone will say: 'okay, yes, I'm a business student, but I don't know what to do from here. I just want to get hired',” she continued. 

“People are scared to respond to businesses and create opportunities for themselves because they are afraid of failure. I have not met someone who said it was easy. You can overcome any problem by learning from your setbacks and then taking another step or dusting yourself off and trying again. Do not let fear of failure hold you back. Have appositive, can-do attitude. Research your ideas well, and if they fail, try again – don’t give up.” 

She further advised students to start thinking about business ideas, looking for opportunities, and seeking funding while they are still at university. 

“The reality of the matter is, not everyone who is a student here will be hired. We are here to say you are one person who can create an opportunity for yourself and opportunities for other people in terms of running your own business. And the first step towards starting your own business, is finding that unique idea or gap in the market." 

UMPWinners of the student competition.

Students rewarded

Studenpreneurs presented their business initiatives under the topic: Adaptation of Business Models to COVID-19 challenges. The judges were looking for students who presented an idea with the most promising business. Final year Information and Communication Technology student, Jessica Mathye, who currently owns a beauty salon, was the overall winner. Second place went to Sandile Nkalanga, Phindile Sithole came third.

On her winning Mathye said: “Winning always reminds me to never be afraid to take a stand when the moment calls for it. It brings me joy and peace of mind because it reminds me that my actions are noticed and that dreams do come true when you understand your assignment and perform accordingly,” she said. 

Other students who attended the workshop also participated in competitions and won amazing prizes.

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures: ChrisplPhoto.