UWC’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s newly-launched UWC-Mashauri Venture Accelerator programme has afforded 22 students the opportunity to turn their ideas and businesses into successes.
The University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) afforded 22 students the opportunity to turn their business ideas and into successes when they launched the UWC-Mashauri Venture Accelerator programme on 4 May 2017.
Mashauri’s mission is to improve the success rate of new businesses across the globe. Their acceleration programmes and workshops guides and supports while they conceive and build their new ventures. Entrepreneur Ignite is a customised programme, co-created by Mashauri and UWC, to teach and support UWC entrepreneurs in launching and building their own businesses.
“Whether it is just an initial idea or a complete business, this programme intends to see this realised,” said the CEI’s Clint Davies. “Participants will learn how to find out what works - and what doesn’t - and how to examine and develop their ideas.”
All the courses include training materials and useful tools and templates to kick-start the learning experience - and most modules end with a quiz which students need to pass before moving onto the next phase.
Weekly lab webinar sessions are also held to foster internal networking opportunities, and to assist the students in developing their business ideas and create feasible business plans through the early stages.
The programme is highly practical: by the end of the Venture Accelerator programme, participants will have developed, tested and validated their business idea in the market.
“Entrepreneurship in practice is very important,” noted StartUp Safari founder Apoorv Bamba. “Here the students will be sent out into the field to experience real situations while learning to network with like-minded entrepreneurs.”
And there are other benefits as well - the best team participation during the online programme will receive an internship at Silicon Cape, and the UWC winner may compete against against other university's winners for the main prize: being sent to the Start-Up Safari in India.
Partnering to Empower Entrepreneurs at UWC
Clint Davies of the CEI said that their unit works with partners to offer innovative entrepreneurship teaching and learning opportunities through a carefully managed and integrated path for aspiring UWC student entrepreneurs.
“Part of our experience when launching both the Mashauri and Pop-Up Bellville programmes this month, we’ve received over three applications for every place available,” he said. “We see this as a key indicator of the demand for practical entrepreneurship programmes for UWC students.”
One advantage of online incubators, with partner Mashauri operating from Spain, India and South Africa, is the contribution of digital learning platforms with technology as a key enabler of multi-digital co-curricular programmes at UWC.
Such programmes and partnerships are important strategically for UWC, noted Charleen Duncan, Director of the CEI, as internationalisation and the university in the digital age are two strategic drivers for the new Institutional Operating Plan.
Furthermore, these programmes allow participants to keep developing their minds continually - especially essential for entrepreneurs, who need to guide their businesses through an ever-changing business environment.
“This is a first for UWC, pilot-programming and allowing the opportunity for as many students to develop their business knowledge and skills as possible,” she said. “With these skills, they can transform their dreams into reality.”