SHAPE WILLING TO SHAPE UKZN STUDENTS’ FUTURE
By: Nhlanhla Ndlovu
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) lecturer Thea van der Westhuizen and Durban entrepreneurs gave a lecture on entrepreneurship at Durban Undersea Bar on Wednesday.
Founder of the SHAPE (Shifting Hope. Activating Potential Entrepreneurship) Project, van der Westhuizen said their aim was to form business friendships between young entrepreneurs and business professionals.
She believes that many entrepreneurial actions fail because owners lose their passion and drive when the going gets tough.
They will focus on helping students to establish their businesses, she said.
The university hopes that the project will look into how “young entrepreneurs” can be inspired and supported to enhance their levels of self-confidence, to think innovatively and act pro-actively.
“It took me 10 years to realise it’s not about chasing money but chasing our hearts and passion,” van der Westhuizen said.
She added that some of the young entrepreneurs are working with professional business people on an idea that will be display at the Durban Business Fair.
She is currently running two businesses and very anxious to help her students achieve their goals in the business industry.
Although the project has recently been implemented, it has already made its mark in the industry as they have received a nomination for Best Young Development Organisation in KZN’s Young Achiever’s awards.
“Last night we were told that we are in the top three,” van der Westhuizen added.
During the programme there were a lot of activities, helping to establish the friendship between the two parts.
Bachelor of Commerce student, Mzwandile Mthethwa said they are expecting to sign partnership deals with professional entrepreneurs this year with the help of the project.
“On Tuesday and Wednesday, we have a visitor from the Chamber of Commerce. They tell us how to look for ideas of needed businesses in Durban,” Mthethwa said.
Although, Mthethwa failed to find someone to assist him in his dream of starting a marketing business, he believes that the workshop was helpful.
“I want to form an internet website where I can market them (other business) and offer their products, so that customers can see the type of businesses we offer,” he added.
Sibusiso Ngema, a manufacturing business owner, also attended the event.
“I have found a friend. We hope to create more small business,” he said.
He added that the project will be helpful to the young people because sharing ideas is the right thing to do.
Ngema believes that the University saw a demand for small business and something good will come out of it.