SPU hosts inaugural regional entrepreneurship conference

Sol Plaatje University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and Research (CEDAR) recently hosted its inaugural two-day regional entrepreneurship conference themed ‘KIES (Keeping It Extremely Simple) Entrepreneurship’. Held on 19 and 20 March at the SPU South Campus Hall, the conference drew studentpreneurs from Sol Plaatje University (SPU), North West University (NWU), and the Central University of Technology (CUT).

The conference was opened by Prof Debra Meyer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, who warmly greeted the assembly of distinguished guests and students and talked about CEDAR’s mission. This beacon of innovation at SPU seeks to enliven the entrepreneurial landscape of the Northern Cape, merging academic theory with practical insights to enhance entrepreneurship knowledge and challenge conventional thinking. Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Professor Pierre Joubert briefly highlighted the purpose of this conference, which was to ignite and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit within our student body.

Renowned author and founder of the Mark My Words TV show, Mr Mark Kotze, delivered an inspiring keynote address. Drawing from his personal journey, Mr Kotze shared valuable insights into his entrepreneurial ventures. “Entrepreneurship requires you to realise who you are because your personality and character are going to fuel the business… Let nothing deter you: in my opinion, entrepreneurship is the cornerstone of our nation’s economy.”

The first day of the conference was characterised by engaging discussions on entrepreneurship, featuring contributions from Prof Christian Friedrich, Professor and Entrepreneur; Mrs Refilwe Xaba, founder of GloLooks; and Mr Henleo Louw from MLab who shared their entrepreneurial journeys. In addition to conference sessions, student entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas for cash prizes.

On the second day of the conference, the focus shifted to studentpreneurs and CEDAR, with students expressing their perspectives on the practicality of student and youth entrepreneurship in the central region. A video showcasing CEDAR’s achievements since its inception was also presented, highlighting the centre’s remarkable progress.

To conclude the conference, the Student Women Economic Empowerment Programme (SWEEP) and ENtrepreneurial ACTion made by US (ENACTUS), presented their respective programmes and shed light on the aims and visions of the programmes, encouraging other students to join them.

This conference underscored CEDAR’s unwavering dedication to nurturing entrepreneurial talent and fostering innovation within both the institution and the broader Northern Cape region.

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