Victory as UCT students top national Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition final

The University of Cape Town (UCT) won it all when its top student entrepreneurs pulled off an impressive feat at the third and final round of the Inter-university Entrepreneurship competition last week.

Thanks to his innovative business idea, Matimba Mabonda, the founder of LolaGreen, topped the new business idea category and was also awarded the National Student Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Award. His business provides an innovative solution to construction, including collecting waste found at landfills and other parts of the environment and converting it into sustainable building materials. French Parfumerie Nicoline Kriek took top honors in the current general business category and Asonele Gevenga, founder of Fleeker Finance, topped the current business technology category. Adding to this great news, UCT has been named Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2022.

“Your tenacity is inspiring, and you are great examples of the quality of students we want at UCT.”

“I am very proud of our talented, innovative students. You put your fears aside and put yourselves and your businesses out there among the best in the country during the final stage of the competition. And you performed excellently,” said UCT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgeti Phakeng. “Your tenacity is inspiring, and you are great examples of the quality of students we want at UCT. Well done for this achievement and for this incredible gift that you have received for yourselves.”

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In addition to the students’ achievements, Stuart Hendry, convenor of UCT’s Genesis Project – a highly regarded, high quality honors level entrepreneurship program, recently packaged it into a book to help other institutions on their entrepreneurial journey. the Higher Education Enterprise Development (EHDE) Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Entrepreneurship. The newly established award promotes creative thinking in all aspects of entrepreneurship education.

Students who are developing an entrepreneurial spirit

The Inter-University Entrepreneurship Competition is an initiative of EDHE and seeks to identify the best students in each of South Africa’s 26 public universities. The competition also provides a platform for students to showcase their businesses and attract much-needed investment to their ventures. In addition, it also gives an opportunity to entrepreneurs whose businesses are still in the idea stage to express their concepts. The country’s most entrepreneurial students went head-to-head during the grand finale in Johannesburg on Thursday, November 17, followed by an award ceremony on Friday, November 18.

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According to Nadia Waggie, coordinator of the UCT Inter-University Entrepreneurship Competition and head of sustainability and impact at the Careers Service, students had to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges in three minutes. Afterwards, the judges conducted a question and answer session with each participant to gain a better understanding of each concept. And it was during this stage of the competition that the months of behind-the-scenes planning came in handy – to ensure the students were ready for the pitch and prepared for the judges’ questions.

“We are very happy with the results and so proud of the three champions we have won. These awards would be impossible without their passion and enthusiasm. They put in hours of work to improve their pitches, which was very difficult during the final round when they were studying and writing their final exams. But it all paid off in the end,” said Waggie.

At the top of their game

In keeping with its annual tradition, the competition started with an internal round in May, followed by the regional round in September. The winners of the regional round advanced to the national final. In total, approximately 1 682 student entrepreneurs from all over the country applied for and participated in the first stage of the competition.

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“Our students prepared very well for their pitches, and that was evident in the way they gave their dialogue and answered the judges’ questions.”

Waggie said the final round of the competition was particularly nerve-wracking. But Mabinda, Kriek and Gevenga were not phased and approached the podium well prepared and “ready to make their marks”. She said they delivered great pitches with great confidence and kept the judges and their fellow entrepreneurs amused and on the edge of their seats.

“Our students were very well prepared for their pitches, and that was evident in the way they gave their dialogue and answered the judges’ questions. This victory is the culmination of months of planning, many late nights and determined spirits. We are proud of them all and their exceptional work. But that hard work doesn’t end – the plowing starts now to reap greater rewards for their businesses later,” said Waggie.

A call for entries for the 2023 Inter-University Entrepreneurship competition will be issued on 13 March 2023 and applications will close on 14 April 2023.


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