Universities South Africa (USAf) News Update

EDHE's Executive Leadership Workshop gets DVCs engaging towards a national university entrepreneurship policy

Nearly all 26 of South Africa's universities are represented at the third round of the annual Executive Leadership Workshop (ELW) which, this year, is being hosted by Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape. The ELW, a flagship project of the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) programme, is an exclusive gathering of especially deputy vice-chancellors (DVCs), executives and other leaders in entrepreneurship development within public universities.

DVCs are the incumbents whose functional responsibility it is to develop a culture of entrepreneurship within their institutions; to embed this thinking within their institutional strategies and policy and to transform their own institutions into innovative ecosystems in which entrepreneurial activity is supported, celebrated and rewarded.

The broad aim of the ELW is to increase the number of public universities positioned as entrepreneurial universities. The event is an attempt to afford DVCs and senior other leaders in Entrepreneurship Development to engage on entrepreneurship, especially as it relates to university strategy and policy, with intent to inform the national university entrepreneurship policy.

Over 40 delegates representing 25 of South Africa's 26 universities, Universities SA and the British Council officials descended on Spier Hotel in Stellenbosch, yesterday, where this three-day affair is being hosted. Yesterday's programme kicked off with a DVCs: Research Forum and a welcome reception. Today's packed agenda begins with a welcome address by Professor Eunice Seekoe, DVC: Academic at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. She is also the Vice-Chairperson of the EDHE Community of Practice for Entrepreneurial Universities, which conceptualised and shaped this year's workshop agenda.

Following the welcome address, deliberations will first recap on the History and Purpose of the EDHE Programme before exploring other sub-themes of the day, such as: Achieving the Extraordinary with Ordinary People; Opportunities Available to Universities Through EDHE and The Role of the British Council in Supporting Universities. Delegates will also interrogate the concept of The Entrepreneurial University; engage on Social Entrepreneurship and Leading in the Time of CoVID-19. A renowned thought leader in entrepreneurship, Dr McLean Sibanda, who is the Managing Director at Bigen Global Limited, will be today's guest speaker on Strengthening Africa's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems.

Tomorrow, the workshop will explore Executive Leadership Skills and The Role of Intellectual Property at the Entrepreneurial University. Delegates will also be taken on a tour of Stellenbosch University's incubation hub, the LaunchLab.

Delegates at the 2020 Executive Leadership Workshop
Delegates at the 2020 Executive Leadership Workshop, which was hosted at the Michaelangelo Hotel in Sandton.

First held in 2019, the Executive Leadership Workshop initially explored the notion of the entrepreneurial university. The 2020 round, delivered in the format of a design thinking workshop, explored adopting a systems thinking process in devising solutions for entrepreneurship systems within public universities. Out of this year's round of the ELW, the EDHE Programme is looking to achieve:

  • Shared understanding on the characteristics of entrepreneurial universities in the South African context;
  • Equipping and strengthening the DVCs to promote entrepreneurship at their universities and engage in institutional entrepreneurship policy development work as relevant to their contexts;
  • DVCs' clear understanding of their role as executive leaders at their university; and, ultimately,
  • An increased number of universities with entrepreneurship development policies.

This workshop is hosted by Universities South Africa's EDHE Programme in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training, and also in collaboration with the British Council and Stellenbosch University.

Further inquiries may be directed at:

Ms Zana Boshoff -- Project Manager: EDHE (0828113092)

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