In 2020, an international collaborative project was initiated between researchers from Belgium’s Ghent University (UG), the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and the University of Pretoria (UP). The South African researchers include Prof Shelley Farrington (NMU), Mr Riyaad Ismail (NMU), and Dr Alex Bignotti (UP), whereas the Belgium researchers include Prof Mirjam Knockaert (UG), Prof Saskia Crucke (UG), and Prof Jacob Vermeire (UG). The project is titled: Improving student entrepreneurship support at South African universities in order to mitigate youth unemployment. The project was funded by VLIR-UOS, an organisation that supports partnerships between universities in Flanders and the Global South, and aimed to identify and disseminate best practices in university-based student entrepreneurship support at South African public universities.


To achieve these aims, a project report and three case studies have been prepared. The project report elaborates on the literature, underlying theory and the methodology followed, whereas the three cases present the findings, with each focusing on a specific area of a university-based student entrepreneurship ecosystem (U-BEE).


These cases and project report are accessible through the following hyperlinks:


The project team has also developed a project website where all outputs are available, as well as a student entrepreneurship support (SES) assessment tool. The SES assessment tool is a self-assessment tool for universities in South Africa to measure and evaluate their student entrepreneurship support in terms of several elements in a U-BEE. These elements are based on best practices identified in the current project and in previous research. The SES assessment tool will be finalised in 2023 and universities will be able to assess and gauge their progress in terms of supporting student entrepreneurs.


The project website can be accessed through the following link:


For any enquiries, please contact:

Mr Riyaad Ismail (Lead Researcher):

Prof Shelley Farrington (Primary Responsible Person):


Contact information
Professor Shelley Farrington
Professor in Business Management
Tel: 27 41 504 2203