Guest Lecture on Skills for E-Commerce Entrepreneurs in South Africa
The Discipline of Information Systems and Technology in the College of Law and Management Studies hosted a guest lecture by Professor Adheesh Budree on Skills for E-Commerce Entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Budree is an Associate Professor in Information Systems at the University of Cape Town.
E-commerce is the process of buying goods and services on the Internet and it has opened global markets for entrepreneurs, enabling them to overcome geographic and economic barriers. It has grown by 66% in South Africa since 2020, which is attributed to the convenience of online shopping, wider product selection, competitive pricing and improved trust in security measures.
However online shopping still represents a relatively small proportion of overall retail sales in the country. Certain fundamentals need to be in place to drive entrepreneurship, which is crucial in building a strong economy. Evidence shows that entrepreneurs create jobs, foster diversity, drive innovation, attract foreign investment, and have a positive social impact.
Budree highlighted the role of Higher Education in developing e-commerce entrepreneurs’ skills. He argued that academic programmes should incorporate a hidden curriculum, which includes beliefs, attitudes, and norms conveyed through education and the social environment.
UKZN acknowledges the importance of involving students in entrepreneurship to bridge the gap between theoretical learning and real-world applications. Entrepreneurship empowers students with skills to create their own job opportunities, contribute to economic growth and address societal needs.
Budree noted that digital literacy is a fundamental requirement in the e-commerce landscape and entrepreneurs should have a strong grasp of technology, online platforms and digital marketing strategies to effectively navigate the digital realm. They also need to be flexible and open to adapting their strategies, embracing new technology and adjusting their business model.
He concluded by observing that e-commerce entrepreneurship demands a combination of skills and qualities including a clear vision, creativity, effective communication, problem-solving and customer service skills. These qualities will enable them to successfully navigate the e-commerce landscape.
Words: Mbuthuma Ongeziwe