The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation enjoyed a strong presence at the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE), a division of Universities South Africa (USAf), Entrepreneurship InterVarsity Finals, with Candidate Fellows scooping awards in each of the competition’s four categories.
The Entrepreneurship InterVarsity Final took place on the 19th September. The initiative represents a collaboration between the Department of Higher Education and Training and Universities of South Africa through the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education Programme, and is supported by The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation , the SAB Foundation and Seda. The inaugural event aimed to identify, recognise and support entrepreneurship at student level, thereby encouraging studentpreneurs to take the next step towards entrepreneurial success. Each of South Africa’s 26 public universities took part in the challenge, with 1 155 valid entries received.
Candidate Fellow Mvelo Hlope of the University of Cape Town was named Studentpreneur of the Year, winning R50 000. Hlope also won the award for Best Existing Social Impact Business. The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Candidate Fellows further dominated the Innovative Business Idea category, which was won by Penang Shirindza of Rhodes University, while Denislav Marinov, also from UCT, was named winner of the Existing Tech Business award. Musa Maluleka from Wits University won the Existing General Business category. Each of these category winners took home R10 000 in prize money.
“We are extremely proud of our winners,” says Nontando Mthethwa, Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Head of Public Affairs and Communication. “Obviously, winning these awards is a significant achievement in its own right, and an acknowledgement of the excellence that we believe is characteristic of our Candidate Fellows. From the Foundation’s point of view, the Candidate Fellows’ outstanding performance is an endorsement of our programme and proves the effectiveness and efficacy of our approach.”
Hlope’s win reflects the innovativeness of his gamified online platform ZAIO, which enhances problem solving skills and improves users’ employability by providing free access to training in software development and coding. This business idea speaks directly to AGOF’s goal of developing high impact entrepreneurs who have the potential to address social challenges while contributing to employment and job creation. Shirindza’s company is a digital advertising company called Urban Play, while Marinov’s DVM Designs produces 3D printing machines for use in industry. Maluleka won for his design of Disktjie, a soccer boot boasting innovative features, purpose built for the South African environment.
“It is an enormous privilege to be able to contribute to the development of South Africa’s economy by fostering tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. We are greatly encouraged by the success of the participants in the EDHE Entrepreneurship InterVarsity Finals, and look forward to seeing how our winning Candidate Fellows continue to shape the business space going forward. We’re also looking forward to playing a role in nurturing more winners. Watch this space!” Nontando Mthethwa concludes.