#Wits100 prioritises entrepreneurship as a solution to high graduate unemployment rates 

Student entrepreneurs are in line to receive free business advice, solutions and strategies following the launch of the Wits entrepreneurship clinic on May 20, 2022.  

Headed by the Wits school of business sciences, the centenary project offers training in business consultation and mentorship to the school’s postgraduate students. These students, referred to as volunteer clinicians, will in turn provide mentorship and other support to start-up entrepreneurs and established business owners in and around the university.

Caitlin Manning (21), an honours student in business management sciences, said she became one of the clinicians to put theory into practice and because she believed the clinic was encouraging innovation and risk-taking. 

Senior lecturer at the school of business sciences, Robert Venter, said the school made an application for funding to the British Council in August 2021. After being granted the opportunity to establish the clinic as part of the Innovation for African Universities programme, the clinic will use intensive training approaches to help students become world-class entrepreneurs while providing practical experience to the school’s graduates. 

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Mfundo Nkosi, studying towards a master’s in data science and owner of HydroKicks (a sneaker-cleaning venture operating from outside the Matrix building), said he was looking forward to “changing [his] whole industry within the next year” by launching a flagship product through the clinic after registering to receive funding and support.   

Mabalane Nzapheza and Muhammad Pardesi (both 24), honours students in law and marketing services respectively,  have commended the business sciences school for prioritising the advancement of entrepreneurship in the academic environment.  

The duo said that they had offered similar services to the Wits student community through their wagon popcorn business, The Entrepreneurs Hub, which was stationed at Amic Deck in 2019, and where students would queue to share their business ideas over a packet of popcorn. 

“We pushed so hard to make the student environment an entrepreneurship hub,” Nzapheza said, and added that they helped students turn their ideas into viable businesses by organising brand activations at the Library Lawns on East Campus through the SRC and the university services department. 

Accessible at the ground floor of the commerce, law and management building on West Campus, the clinic is in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the African Circular Economy Network and the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Professor Boris Urban of Wits Business School, Professor James Smith from the University of Edinburgh, Tshimologong CEO Lesley Donna Williams, Professor Barry Dwolatzky, Wits director of innovation strategy and Ntobeko Boyana from the African Circular Economy Network at the launch of the entrepreneurship clinic. Photo: Keamogetswe Matlala