Charmaine Musetsho, a fourth-year student in the Department of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Heritage Studies pursuing a Bachelor of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, shares her experience of participating in the prestigious Unilever South Africa Idea Trophy competition hosted on March 17th – 19th, 2024, in Sandton, Johannesburg. The Unilever South Africa Idea Trophy serves as a beacon for students nationwide, offering a transformative journey beyond the confines of traditional academia. Charmaine worked with teammates Veronica Mwale and Michael Mabuza, as she embarked on a two-day journey of insightful activities and invaluable networking opportunities. One of her highlights was the LevelUp U-th talk, featuring distinguished directors and managers from Unilever. Charmaine recounts absorbing wisdom on career discernment, emphasizing the significance of selfawareness, curiosity, and adaptability. The discourse illuminated the importance of networking, underscoring the saying: “Your network equals your net worth.” Venturing beyond the confines of the office, the journey continued with a visit to the Boksburg Unilever factory—a firsthand encounter with the intricate workings of a multinational corporation. The factory tour offered invaluable insights into operational dynamics and sustainability practices, enriching the participants’ understanding of real-world business operations. For Charmaine, 19 March, 2024, marked the culmination of the transformative experience, with teams gearing up for presentations before esteemed judges. Charmaine’s team embraced the challenge, leveraging their expertise to propose innovative solutions to real business dilemmas. The feedback received was invaluable, providing constructive insights to refine their approach further. During the grand finale presentations, each team showcased their innovative skills. The culmination of months of preparation and dedication was met with anticipation as the winner of the Unilever South Africa Idea Trophy was announced. While Charmaine’s team did not clinch the top spot, the experience was a triumph—a testament to their resilience, creativity, and collaborative spirit. Reflecting on her journey, Charmaine emphasised the profound lessons learnt from the competition. She underscores the importance of continuous learning, urging fellow students to seize opportunities for personal and professional development. From embracing curiosity to harnessing the power of networking, Charmaine imparts invaluable wisdom to her peers, echoing the sentiment: “Skills are the new currency. As Charmaine returns to the University of Venda, she carries a wealth of experiences and insights from the Unilever South Africa Idea Trophy. Her journey serves as an inspiration—an embodiment of the transformative power of experiential learning and the limitless potential of the entrepreneurial mindset. The Unilever South Africa Idea Trophy is a testament to the commitment to nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders—a beacon of opportunity illuminating the path towards a brighter, more innovative future.

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Cell: 082 868 2218 or 082 868 1811

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