Management academic Dr Thea van der Westhuizen, together with colleagues from different disciplines in the College of Law and Management Studies and her full time masters and PhD students, will host an entrepreneurship initiative on UKZN’s Westville campus titled “SHAPE (Shifting Hope Activating Potential Entrepreneurship) Programme”. The initiative will run for 12 consecutive weeks.
Her students – Ms Fezile Sikhakhane, Ms Sindiswa Msomi, Mr Wade Krieger and Mr John Nyamunda – are not only involved in the day-to-day running of the programme, taking place in the second semester of July, but will also use SHAPE to complete their research dissertations within the field of management and entrepreneurship.
The SHAPE programme aims to instil a culture of entrepreneurial self-confidence among students through various support interventions, including forming business friendships between aspiring young entrepreneurs as well as existing entrepreneurs.
Invited to the programme are students in the exit level phase of their education and existing entrepreneurial practitioners in business for at least three years.
‘The programme gives both the students and the entrepreneurs an opportunity to gain valuable experiences where the student, who has not started a business, gets to meet someone who has walked the road of starting one, and an entrepreneur gets to meet someone who has a fresh insight where they can form relationships and who knows maybe even gain a new business partner,’ said Sikhakhane, who is the project co-ordinator for the programme.
Said van der Westhuizen: ‘We hope to bring together like-minded, like-hearted and like-willed people. The idea is if you have the same level of thinking, the heart and will are in the same place and maybe you can sustain a bit longer in your business venture, rather than think about money, because you have a passion and purpose for it.’
Words by: Sibonelo Shinga