The University of Venda (UNIVEN) is elated to have had its business plan to establish a Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator (UCFERI) accepted and approved by the Small Business Development Enterprise Agency (SEDA). This news, delivered through a formal letter to the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr N.B. Nthambeleni, is significant because it presents us with the opportunity to serve as the anchor institution for regional development. It complements and strengthens operationalisation of our strategic drive towards becoming an entrepreneurial university. Through the UCFERI, we will partner, link and collaborate with other stakeholders to provide start-up and business development support to staff, students and members of our broader local and provincial community. We would like to highlight that the UCFERI will help consolidate the gains of the work UNIVEN is already championing such as the Innovation Champions for Local Economic Development in Vhembe District Project, which the Department of Science and Innovation is funding through the Technology Innovation Agency.
The objectives of the UCFERI are amongst others to:
a) recruit, screen and induct potential entrepreneurs for inclusion in the technology business incubation programme;
b) provide incubation support services to develop potential entrepreneurs;
c) formalise partnership agreements with a national corporate or key stakeholder, focused on the development of suppliers in sector product or service value chains;
d) facilitate processes for incubatees to obtain business contracts with corporate and public institutions through hosting regular business linkage and networking sessions.
e) facilitate processes for incubatees to obtain business financing and procurement of appropriate equipment and machinery; and
f) mentor the new enterprises on business skills, technical advice and operations know-how.
Currently, the University is preparing to sign the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with SEDA and establishing a representative Steering Committee to oversee the Centre’s activities. The Centre will collaborate with three already established Communities of Practice (CoPs) at UNIVEN, namely:
a) Student Preneurship led by Dr Nkondo and Dr Obadire;
b) Academic Entrepreneurship led by Prof Netshandama and Dr Nkondo; and
c) Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development Goals led by Dr Ngirande and Dr Masehela
Interested staff and students are welcome to contact the CoP leaders for inclusion in any entrepreneurial activity on campus.
Dr R.L. Martin
DVC Corporate Services