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02 July 2019 | Story Eloise Calitz | Photo Keagan Nkwaira
Entrepreneurship Intravarsity
Audience members listening attentively to the presentations at the Entrepreneurship Inter-varsity on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The UFS continuously creates opportunities for students to develop and explore platforms where they can showcase their talents and share their innovative concepts. In the light of this, it is important for the institution to become a preferred academic knowledge partner that can conceptualise, develop, and successfully commercialise research activities, and through this foster an innovative and entrepreneurial culture that aligns to its Integrated Transformation Plan.

This is why opportunities such as the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Competition are so important, since it encourages students to demonstrate their entrepreneurial talent, and through this connect with investors and industry leaders to start up a business.

The competition

Student entrepreneurs across the 26 public universities in South Africa were invited to submit their innovative ideas as part of a competition supported by Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE), in collaboration with the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. The opportunities created through this initiative are twofold:

     1. For student entrepreneurs to present their innovative ideas and businesses. 
     2. For universities to demonstrate their entrepreneurial talent and the ways in which              they support and grow the next generation of business leaders.

The competition takes place in five stages. The process started with each student submitting their short videos and applications on the official competition site. Each institution also had the opportunity to select student entrepreneurs to take part in the competition. Fifteen students pitched their ideas during internal rounds at the UFS on 30 May 2019. Of these students, four were selected to represent the UFS at the regional rounds of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity, where the finalists will be chosen. 

The students were judged in four categories:

Category 1: Innovative Ideas
Category 2: Tech Businesses (existing businesses, formal or informal, undergrad or postgrad)
Category 3: Social Impact Businesses (existing businesses, formal or informal, undergrad or postgrad)
Category 4: General (existing businesses, formal or informal, undergrad or postgrad)

The following UFS entrants were selected to take part in the regional finals: 
Christopher Rothman for his liquid yeast culture that can be used in the fermentation of beer. 
Driaan-Lou Kemp for his patented water-saving device. 
Grace Mthembu for her electricity-saving system.
Martin Clarke for his idea to use drone technology for the mining industry


News Archive

Food insecurity at university campuses under the spotlight
2015-08-20

 

"Food insecurity is   becoming an increasing problem at South African universities, much to the surprise of university managers." - Dr Louise van den Bergh, senior lecturer and researcher at our department of Nutrition and Dietetics

More than 70% of early university dropouts in the country were forced to abandon their tertiary studies because of food insecurity and financial need.

This was one of the conclusions drawn during the first higher education colloquium on food insecurity. The colloquium was hosted on by the University of the Free State (UFS) on the Bloemfontein Campus on 14 August 2015, where researchers from universities across the country shared their research about food insecurity on university campuses.

In South Africa, university campuses are not usually associated with food insecurity but, over the last few years, tertiary education has become more accessible to an increasing number of first-generation students and students from low-income households.

Some of the research indicated that students from lower-income households are often lacking financially, even with bursaries. The research has also shown that students frequently have to use part of their bursary money to support their families. This results in students not having enough money to buy food, which means they will do almost anything to get food.

A study by the UFS Department of Nutrition and Dietetics found that as many as 60% of our students are food insecure, and experience hunger frequently. This study was the first of its kind in South Africa. In 2011, the UFS launched the No Student Hungry Bursary Programme to provide food bursaries to food-insecure students.

At the opening of the colloquium, Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, said by helping students with a basic commodity like food, you give them much more than food; you give them humanity and dignity.

Dr Louise van den Bergh, senior lecturer and researcher in the UFS Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, explains that the problem is considerably more complex than just providing for students financially.

Dr Van den Bergh says that funders need to reassess bursaries, keeping issues such as food insecurity in mind, and not focusing just on tuition.

Research presented at the colloquium: (PDF's van die slides)

UFS Food environment and nutritional practices

UFS Skeleton in the University closet

UKZN Achieving food security

UKZN Food security and academic performance

UKZN Hunger for knowledge

UKZN Perceptions of food insecurity complexities

UW Food acquisition struggles

 

 

 

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