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LaunchLab Ideas Workshop

Great Ideas: UWC hosts free entrepreneurship workshop

“Entrepreneurship is not only about making money. It’s all about providing a service to people who you see and acknowledge as people; don’t only see them as customers.”

That’s according to seasoned entrepreneur, Neil Hinrichsen, who spoke at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Saturday, 15 August 2015, as part of the LaunchLab Ideas Workshops series.

Hinrichsen, an experienced South African start-up strategist who has co-founded two companies (one being the mobile payments company Fundamo, eventually sold to Visa for $110 million), sees the Ideas Workshops as a chance to help entrepreneurs and aspiring ones discover and develop great ideas for new ventures suitable for the South African context.

Hinrichsen told attendees about his years prior to his success, and the persistence it took to achieve it. “I used to stay in a small flat in Cape Town and drove a really beat-up car,” he said. “It took eight years before there was finally a breakthrough for me.”

He referred to former finance minister Trevor Manuel’s nine challenges facing South Africa as pointers to address needs and to see it as an entrepreneurial opportunity. These include the fact that the quality of school education for most black people is sub-standard, and also the fact that poorly-located and inadequate infrastructure can limit social inclusion and economic growth.

“By studying these one can create a wide spectrum of business opportunities,” he explained.

He compared the fathers of three different families, each with their own different sets of priorities. “Some fathers make decisions to further their career and in the process ignore the needs of the family, while others will consider the family’s needs and make a point of spending lots of time with them and understanding their needs.

“It is the same with a successful business. It’s best if all involved benefit in the process.”

The next session, day two in the series of three workshops organised by the LaunchLab, will deal with ways to develop, market, monetise, scale and protect your business idea. The workshop will take place at UWC on Saturday 29 August 2015.

Other participating campuses are False Bay College (another programme is hosted here for those in the southern suburbs on 22 August) and Stellenbosch University (where the last day of the workshop happens on 5 September).

The Ideas Workshops have been run for five years by Microsoft, the Bandwidth Barn, the Innovation Hub, mLab, and Stellenbosch University, training hundreds of entrepreneurs. Sessions run from 09:00 to 16:30. To book, phone Chani Macauley on 021 808 9494 or email

For more details on the LaunchLabs Ideas Workshops, click here