All systems go for the EDHE Lekgotla 2020

The much anticipated, 4th Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Lekgotla, starts today. This event, designed to stimulate entrepreneurial mindsets in higher education, will be anchored from Universities South Africa's offices in Hatfield and freely live-streamed on the Whova App from 14 to 18 September 2020. This year's theme is #AfroTech – African Entrepreneurship through Technology.

As at Friday, 11 September, a total of 489 students had signed up for the Studentpreneurs Indaba, a sub-event dedicated and open to all Studentpreneurs, today (Day One). The EDHE Studentpreneurs Community of Practice (CoP) is representative of and advocates for entrepreneurial students who are already doing business while studying. The students participants in the Studentpreneurs Indaba will be exposed to four themes, namely: Studentpreneur and the University: Making the Relationship Work; Women Winning in Business; Know Your Market, Test Your Product and University Resources for Studentpreneurs: Technology Stations. Ms Refilwe Mogale, Co-convener of this group, will open up the session; Ms Mandisa Cakwe, Director: Teaching and Learning Development in the Universities Branch of the Department of Higher Education and Training, will set the stage and Professor Ahmed Bawa, USAf's CEO, will position entrepreneurship within the higher education sector. The keynote address in this session will be delivered by Dr Stephen Oluwatobi, Curator: Hebron Start-Up Lab at the Covenant University in Nigeria.

The actual Lekgotla commences tomorrow, Tuesday, 15 September, and carries on for the rest of the week, with more than 1000 participants registered for the event. The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, will deliver the keynote address at the Lekgotla kick-off tomorrow. Professor Ahmed Bawa, Universities South Africa's CEO, and Professor Henk de Jager, Chairperson of USAf's World of Work Strategy Group and Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Central University of Technology, will speak alongside the Minister during the official opening session.

On Day One of the Lekgotla 2020, delegates will be treated to international perspectives on entrepreneurship within these four broad sub-themes: Developing Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies; University Entrepreneurship in Africa; Global Entrepreneurship in the Context of the Pandemic and Building Bridges Through Entrepreneurship. The eight speakers set to address these themes include Professor Michael H. Morris, invited back by popular demand after a moving delivery on Entrepreneurship Programmes and the Modern University during the 2018 Lekgotla. Professor Morris will tomorrow speak on Education, Entrepreneurship and Poverty in the Global Context. He is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, in the United States of America.

Back by popular demand, Professor Michael H. Morris, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, will speak on Education, Entrepreneurship and Poverty in the Global Context.
Professor Michael Morris
Back by popular demand, Professor Michael H. Morris, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, will speak on Education, Entrepreneurship and Poverty in the Global Context.

On Day Two (Wednesday, 16 September), the South African perspectives on entrepreneurship are also structured into four broad sub-themes, namely: High-Tech Innovation in Africa; the University as a Catalyst for Entrepreneurship; Breaking New Ground and Re-thinking the Role of Business Schools. Professor Derrick Swartz, former Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Nelson Mandela University, will set the stage in his capacity as a Member of USAf's World of Work Strategy Group.

Mr Christopher Rothman
Mr Christopher Rothmann is completing his PhD in Biotechnology at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. He is a co-founder of Liquid Culture, a company that produces yeast in its purest liquid form for the fermentation of beer.

The 12 local speakers who will share these sub-themes include Mr Christopher Rothmann, founder and CEO of LiquidCulture, who also happens to be EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Competition 2019 finalist. LiquidCulture won a joint runner-up prize with another student enterprise in the Existing Technological Business category. Addressing the 2nd-mentioned sub-theme above, Mr Rothmann will present on Best Practice in a University-supported Approach to Starting and Growing a Business.

Mr Christopher Rothmann is completing his PhD in Biotechnology at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. He is a co-founder of Liquid Culture, a company that produces yeast in its purest liquid form for the fermentation of beer.

Day Four will be devoted to engagements led by the four EDHE Communities of Practice in Entrepreneurship, respectively aimed at the development of student entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship in academia, and entrepreneurial universities. Up to three speakers have been confirmed to present different perspectives for each of the CoPs. From the CoP for Student Entrepreneurship consisting of staff who support student entrepreneurship, the three speakers will include Professor Ulrike Rivett, Director of the School of IT at the University of Cape Town, will speak on the 4th Industrial Revolution...so what...where to from here?

Within the Entrepreneurship in Academia stream, Professor Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, Assistant Dean: Research, Innovation & Engagement in the Faculty of Science at the Tshwane University of Technology and Founder and CEO of Global Health Biotech, will speak about The Benefits of Solution-driven research: How to Turn Research into a Product. Ms Relebohile Moeng, Director and Founder of Afri-Berry, will address the gathering on The Impact of Entrepreneurship education; the role of education on shaping an entrepreneurial journey.

Professor Keolebogile Motaung, a biomedical science technologist at the Tshwane University of Technology, is back. At the EDHE Lekgotla 2019 she told the audience about how she had turned a research idea into a commercial asset. This time around, Professor Motaung will speak on The Benefits of Solution-driven Research: How to Turn Research into a Product.
Professor Keolebogile Motaung
Professor Keolebogile Motaung, a biomedical science technologist at the Tshwane University of Technology, is back. At the EDHE Lekgotla 2019 she told the audience about how she had turned a research idea into a commercial asset. This time around, Professor Motaung will speak on The Benefits of Solution-driven Research: How to Turn Research into a Product.

Finally, the Entrepreneurial Universities stream will be a panel discussion unpacking the findings of the University Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Baseline Report, published earlier this year. The panel will comprise Dr Robert Martin, Deputy Vice Chancellor: Operations at the University of Venda; Prof Sibusiso Moyo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation & Engagement at the Durban University of Technology and Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. All three DVCs will also share plans for entrenching and integrating entrepreneurship and innovation within their respective institutions.

According to the conference programme, Day Five will be wrapping up the Lekgotla 2020 with delegates' feedback and sharing the future outlook of the EDHE programme.

"As a country and continent, we have the opportunity to lead the way in developing new technologies and start-ups to meet the specific needs and challenges of our continent and the era we are in," says Dr Norah Clarke, Director: of EDHE. She says a truly entrepreneurial university system is a catalyst for achieving precisely that for South Africa, and the African continent at large.

Founded in 2016 in the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the EDHE Programme, now being implemented from under Universities South Africa's wings, is seen – in the higher education sector – as an answer to South Africa's high unemployment rate. The Programme was established to grow student entrepreneurship and turn university graduates into job-creators; to foster entrepreneurship development in academia, and to develop public universities into highly enterprising entities. The Programme continues to be funded mainly from DHET's University Capacity Development Programme.

Registration remains open on www.edhe.co.za.

Inquiries: Mr Linda Dhladhla
edhe@usaf.ac.za | www.edhe.co.za
+27 12 030 0674 | +27 81 373 2362

Written by Nqobile Tembe, a Consultant commissioned by Universities South Africa.

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