African Renaissance Conference Focuses on Entrepreneurial Development
Entrepreneurial development with the emphasis on creating an environment conducive for the start-up and development of small and medium business ventures as key drivers to economic growth and job creation, was the primary focus of the recent annual African Renaissance Conference hosted by the city of Durban.
According to UKZN academic and Vice-Chair of the African Renaissance Trust, Professor Sihawukele Ngubane, one of the new key areas which received attention this year was entrepreneurship development at tertiary institutions. ‘The requisite skills needed to develop and manage one’s own business are a part of tertiary education that has become essential for graduates to acquire.’
With this in mind, College of Law and Management Studies academics Mrs Andrisha Beharry-Ramraj, Dr Vannie Naidoo and Dr Mbuyiseni Ntuli attended the Conference.
On the culture of entrepreneurship among the youth, Naidoo said: ‘There are a lot of business opportunities in Africa, however education about entrepreneurship needs to be a priority in the training of young people. Other skills such as critical thinking should be encouraged while students should also be trained to use ICTs to assist in their development.’
In an effort to instil a culture of entrepreneurship among UKZN students, the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance has introduced a new honours programme this year on entrepreneurship. ‘It is hoped this programme can grow as more students use this degree as an avenue to pursue entrepreneurship,’ said Beharry-Ramraj.
She added that the youth of Africa needed to explore entrepreneurship awareness in order to combat youth and poverty alleviation on the continent. However, a concerted effort was needed from all stakeholders including government, society and academia.
eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo echoed similar sentiments when he said in his welcome address at the Conference that entrepreneurs and SMMES were vital contributors to the wealth of the economy as they offered diverse opportunities. He encouraged the youth to start positioning themselves to take advantage of business opportunities offered.