In 2019, an international collaborative project between Nelson Mandela University, University of Pretoria and Ghent University in Belgium was initiated. The project is funded by Vlir-Uos* and is titled "Improving Student Entrepreneurship Support at South African Universities in order to Mitigate Youth Unemployment".


The aim of the project is to identify and disseminate best practices in university-based student entrepreneurship support and to create a student entrepreneurship development tool. Prof Shelley Farrington from the Department of Business Management is the local promoter for this project, while Mr Riyaad Ismail is the lead researcher, who is also doing his masters within the context of the project.


In May 2021, Mr Ismail travelled to visit Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) to meet up with the individuals concerned with supporting student entrepreneurs at their respective universities. The image below shows the team working at DUT’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Above from left to right: Mr Solomon Nyamurima (DUT – Centre Manager); Ms Spho Hlophe (DUT – Centre Admin Assistant); Mr Thobani Banda (DUT – Centre Finance Officer); Mr Riyaad Ismail (NMU – Project Lead Researcher); Dr Poppet Pillay (DUT – Centre Director).


Mr Ismail also met up with the UKZN InQubate Student Entrepreneurship Manager, Mr Khutso Ramontja, who provided a tour of their facilities. (See image below)


Both DUT and UKZN are actively supporting their student entrepreneurs. They offer a wide variety of support programmes and infrastructures to assist their student entrepreneurs through their entrepreneurial journeys. The observations made during this visit provided great insight into the support for student entrepreneurs being offered by other universities and allows for the identification of best practices which can be brought back to Nelson Mandela University.

*VLIR-UOS is an academic cooperation between the Flemish universities of Belgium, which provides funding for projects initiated and undertaken in partnerships between universities in Flanders (Belgium) and in the South (e.g., South Africa).

Contact information
Prof Shelley Farrington
Professor in Business Management
Tel: 041 504 2203