30 June 2022

Mahlangu, a third-year Foundation Phase Teaching student, is driven to make her business a success and has has entered student entrepreneurship competitions where she competed against students from 26 universities at the virtual EDHE Lekgotla in 2020.

"I was in the top three of my category overall and though I did not take the money home, it was a great achievement and an eye-opener for the kind of doors my business can open for me," she says.

The Student Entrepreneurs Society aims to support students such as Mahlangu become the best in their established businesses, and  develop more young people who intend to make it in the business world to be self-reliant in this ever-changing economy.

It also has places a strong focus on developing young people with high-risk appetites to start small businesses, and to help them nurture, grow and develop these into successful enterprises.

The society is established under the Student Affairs Division and works closely with University of Mpumalanga Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubation (CEPFI) under the leadership of Dr Kanayo Ogujiuba, Manager and Project Coordinator.

UMPStudent teacher, Thandeka Mahlangu hopes the Student Entrepreneurs Society will assist her with funding opportunities.

Objectives of the Society

The members of the Student Entrepreneurship Society are diverse with respect to their age, gender, ethnicity, educational background and culture. Membership of the society ranges from those young people who already have small businesses to the ones who have ideas that are not yet fully developed.

The objectives of the society are to expose its members to available training, encourage them to enter entrepreneurship competitions, and assist them to seek opportunities. Some of the objectives of the society  include assisting members with:

  • Procedures to start a small business that will include business registration, drawing up a business plan, and seeking potential funders.
  • Access to the Youth Challenge Fund from the Department of Small Business Development.
  • Microsoft online courses that include entrepreneurship, Microsoft office101, Microsoft Azure and digital literacy.
  • Afrika Tikkun which include LinkedIn, web development and customer service.
  • Online courses that include topics such as digital marketing.
  • Annual Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Student Entrepreneurs competition.
  • Online Asian Pacific University of Technology series of Entrepreneurship sessions.

The benefits

The UMP student entrepreneur society intends to assist students to develop business acumen, empower them with entrepreneurial understanding, and being able to assess current challenges.

The society will also support the students with knowledge on how to access funding opportunities, and make them understand the impact of government regulations and policies on SMMEs.

It also aims to assist students with developing business writing and speaking skills, and improved personal and leadership skills – which will give them boosted confidence and determination, the ability to build networks, and become independent, and open to new ideas.

Students who join the society are encouraged to engage in nurturing business ideas in a safe and welcoming environment, and to give feedback on ideas in a good spirit.

Mahlangu’s dreams of succeeding in her studies and business are becoming a reality. She says: When I graduate, which is in a few months, I plan to find work as an educator and open my first dessert bar at a local retail centre.”

@ Story by UMP Communications Division. Picture supplied