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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

UFS launches a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Observatory, first of its kind in South Africa
2013-12-04

In cooperation with its partners, the Centre for Development Support at the University of the Free State (UFS), launched the SME Observatory at a function on the Bloemfontein Campus. This initiative is the first of its kind in South Africa. 
 
According to Willem Ellis, Director of the Centre for Development Support, this is a public-private partnership between the UFS, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (detea), which aims to gather information for research on small and medium enterprises. “With this research we will endeavour to empower policy formulators to make the right decisions in terms of development on a local, provincial and national level,” Ellis said. 
 
Presentations and the panel discussion at the launch covered topics such as: 
  • How many enterprises can survive in a town?
  • Are entrepreneurs being set up for failure? 
  • Is SMEs the answer to the unemployment question? 
  • The cost of red tape: is SMEs being tied down? 

To demonstrate the applicability of the enterprise architect for issues relating to enterprise policy, as well as entrepreneurship strategies, it was decided to focus the pilot phase of the observatory on towns in the Free State. Dr Daan Toerien, research associate at the Centre for Development Support, and Johannes Wessels, Project Manager of the SME Observatory, compiled the report: “50 Towns in the Free State: What the Enterprise Architecture of these towns is telling us about Entrepreneurial Space.” 
 
In his presentation at the launch, Dr Toerien said: “The Enterprise Observatory’s prime goal is to present valuable facts and insights about enterprises in the domains it is observing.” He has developed a database that contains information on a large number of South African towns. He said that studying the enterprise architecture of towns will contribute significantly to inform the policy and strategy debate on LED and enterprise development. “These activities will add valuable data and insights to approach entrepreneurship in the Free State and, after the pilot phase, also in other provinces in South Africa. The Free State government, district and local municipalities, and the consultant fraternity serving them, should find the SME observatory’s activities of value,” he said. 
 
Wessels said that the SME Observatory of South Africa is dedicated to base its arguments on sound theory, science and applied research; to engage policy and decision makers on an evidence-based approach; operate in a politically non-aligned mode in order to mirror truthfully the impact of policies and decisions and to partner with policy makers, entrepreneurs, public administration, think tanks, research institutions, business representatives and NGOs on building networks and alliances to promote an open and competitive enterprise environment.

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