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On Wednesday, 24 March 2021, the Community Engagement Directorate held a virtual Social Entrepreneurship Workshop under the theme, ‘Introduction to Social Enterprise: Rethinking Business’. The major purpose of the workshop was to expose students and staff to the concept of social entrepreneurship and show how social entrepreneurs are transforming society to deliver social impact in their home communities and abroad. Dr Danylle Kunkel, Associate Professor at Radford University College of Business and Economics in Virginia, USA facilitated the workshop via Microsoft teams. More than 80 people drawn from the UNIVEN campus and notably, the Limpopo Chamber of Commerce and Industry participated in this workshop. 

Prof Kunkel clarified that Social entrepreneurship focused on creation of social impact through developing and implementing a sustainable business model which draws on innovative solutions that benefit the disadvantaged and, ultimately, society at large. She highlighted the leveraging innovations results towards the creation of positive social impact within grassroots communities. “Social enterprises are distinctive because their purpose is central to what they do,” she said. Prof Kunkel encouraged emerging entrepreneurs to never give up if they want to succeed. 

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Corporate Services, Dr Robert Martin welcomed attendees to the workshop and encouraged them to contribute, explore and learn as much as they could. He argued that this was important because social entrepreneurship will play a major role in the implementation of the University of Venda’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. 

In his vote of thanks message, Director Institute for Rural Development, Prof Joseph Francis said unique platforms such as the workshop are encouraging because they taught students, staff, and external stakeholders such as provincial entrepreneurs to unlock their potential and assets to help them flourish in the business world. He concluded his remarks by mentioning that this workshop was relevant especially with respect to the operationalisation of the University’s Strategic Thrust 2. The workshop was facilitated by Prof Mashudu C Mashige, a Research Professor in the School of Human and Social Sciences of the University of Venda. 

Overall, the workshop revealed that social enterprise was a rapidly developing field and that through its application, entrepreneurs and social innovators use business methods to help solve economic, social, and environmental challenges. These are matters that, otherwise, are ignored by commercial businesses and often difficult to financially sustain in the nonprofit sector. 

Issued by: 

Department of Marketing, Branding & Communications 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8710 

Date: 29 March 2021 

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