The context of graduate and youth unemployment, the resources available at universities, the national drive for SMEs and the need for third-stream income at universities, the imperative to drive student and graduate entrepreneurship has been growing steadily.
In response to this, a platform for Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) was established at the end of 2016 from within the University Education Branch of the Department Higher Education and Training. The EDHE Programme has been included in the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP) of the Department Higher Education and Training.
The goals of the EDHE Programme are:
- Student entrepreneurship, i.e. mobilising the national student and graduate resource to create successful enterprises that will ultimately lead to both wealth and job creation.
- Entrepreneurship development in academia, i.e. support academics in instilling an entrepreneurial mindset within all students and graduates through the offering of relevant knowledge, transferral of practical skills and the application of business principles, not only to a specific discipline, but across disciplines.
- Developing entrepreneurial universities, i.e. creating a conducive environment that will enable universities to adapt strategically and embark on projects whereby third-stream income can be generated through innovative business ideas.
The EDHE Programme is people-focused. It is intended to develop the entrepreneurial capacity of students, academics and leaders. The intention is for students to be more successful in terms of becoming economically active during and after their tertiary education. Entrepreneurial activity during their studies could enable students to generate an additional income and fast-track the process of becoming economically active. Upon graduation, students would be able to consider entrepreneurship as a career, either as a first choice, or as an alternative, especially if they have difficulty in finding employment.
The people-focused nature of the EDHE Programme extends to developing the capacity of academics and support professionals to deliver informed and relevant services in terms of entrepreneurship education. This would include equipping academics across disciplines to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset and culture, as well as subject-specific entrepreneurship education, delivered with confidence.
The EDHE Programme is positioned to make entrepreneurship education and training accessible for all students across disciplines. This is a much-needed intervention that would better equip students to successfully participate in the economy upon graduation, regardless of whether they are employed or not.
EDHE hosts a National Student Entrepreneurship Week which was piloted in 2017 and was successfully executed on by 19 public universities and the first TVET college through the hosting of in-house programmes in partnership with business, industry and NPOs. Each institution designed their own one-week programme suited to their students and context, mostly by optimising their existing resources and expertise, joining forces with the private sector and business community, and sourcing sponsorships.
This year Student Entrepreneurship Week was building on the accomplishments of SEW2017 by making the circle bigger. The aim is for all (26) public universities to participate, along with leading TVET colleges. Promising partnerships in SEW2018 are developing in certain regions, such as Kwazulu-Natal. The primary objective of SEW2018 was to raise awareness of entrepreneurship in its different forms as an alternative to formal employment.
Follow EDHE @EDHEstudents to get updates of the roadshows and get updates on opportunities.