Victory as UCT students top national Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition final

It was a victory all round for the University of Cape Town (UCT) as its top student entrepreneurs put in a stellar, winning performance in the third and final round of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition last week.

Thanks to his innovative business idea, Matimba Mabonda, the founder of LolaGreen, topped the category of new business ideas and also received the 2022 National Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award. His business provides an innovative solution to building, which includes collecting waste found in landfills and other parts of the environment and converting it into durable building materials. Nicoline Kriek’s French perfumery scored top honors in the existing business general category and Asonele Gevenga, the founder of Fleeker Finance, topped the existing business tech category. Adding to the wonderful news, UCT has been named the 2022 Entrepreneurial University of the Year.

“Your tenacity is inspiring, and you are shining examples of the caliber of students we want at UCT.”

“I am so proud of our talented, innovative students. You have put aside your fear and placed yourselves and your businesses among the best in the country during the final phase of the competition. And you have performed outstandingly,” said UCT Vice -Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng. “Your tenacity is inspiring, and you are shining examples of the caliber of students we want at UCT. Well done on this achievement and the incredible talent you have acquired for yourself.

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In addition to the achievements of the students, Stuart Hendry, the convenor of UCT’s Genesis Project – a prestigious and highly-acclaimed entrepreneurship program, which was recently packaged in a book to help other institutions on their entrepreneurial journey. The Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EHDE) Entrepreneurship Teaching and Learning Excellence Award. The newly established award promotes creative thinking in all facets of entrepreneurial education.

Develop entrepreneurial minded students

The Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition is an initiative of EDHE and seeks to identify the top student entrepreneurs in each of South Africa’s 26 public universities. The competition also provides a platform for students to showcase their businesses and attract much-needed investment to their enterprises. Furthermore, it also gives entrepreneurs whose businesses are still in the ideas phase an opportunity to pitch their concepts. The country’s top student entrepreneurs went head-to-head during the Grand Finale in Johannesburg on Thursday, November 17, which was followed by an awards ceremony on Friday, November 18.

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According to Nadia Waggie, UCT’s Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Competition Coordinator and Head of Sustainability and Impact in the Careers Service, students are required to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges in just three minutes. The judges then conducted a question-and-answer session with each participant to gain a better understanding of each concept. And it was at this stage of the competition when months of behind-the-scenes planning came in handy – to ensure that the students were pitch-ready and prepared for all the judges’ questions.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the results and so proud of our three champions who made it all possible. These accolades would not be possible without their grit and determination. They have put in hours of work to find their features. What in the last rounds was very difficult, because they were studying and writing their final exams, but it all paid off in the end, Wagi said.

At the top of their game

In keeping with its annual tradition, the competition began with an internal round in May, followed by the regional round in September. The winners of the regional round proceed to the national final. In total, approximately 1 682 student entrepreneurs from across the country entered and participated in the first leg of the competition.

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“Our students were very well prepared for their pitches, and this was evident by the way they delivered their dialogue and answered the judges’ questions.”

Wagi said the final round of the competition was nerve-wracking. But Mabinda, Creek and Zevenga were not phased and approached the podium well prepared and “ready to make their marks”. She said they delivered excellent pizzas with great confidence and kept the judges and their colleagues captivated and on the edge of their seats.

“Our students were very well prepared for their pitches, and this was evident by the way they delivered their dialogue and answered the judges’ questions. The win is a culmination of months of planning, many late nights and determined spirits. We are proud of all of them and their exceptional work. But the hard work doesn’t end here – the playing starts now to reap bigger rewards for their businesses later on,” said Wagi.

A call for entries for the 2023 Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Competition will be issued on 13 March 2023 and applications will close on 14 April 2023.


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