Student Entrepreneur Week 2022 gave students the taste of entrepreneur life and access to speakers who shared their trials and tribulations. 

Students grasped the opportunity to promote their small businesses and crafts on the Library Lawns with both hands on Friday, August 26. This was the final event of Student Entrepreneur Week hosted by the Wits Development and Leadership Unit and the Young African Entrepreneurs Institute. 

The event, which started on Tuesday, August 23, kicked off with welcome addresses from the Dean of Students, Jerome September, the Vice Chancellor, Zeblon Vilakazi, and was followed by talks from various entrepreneurs. Shakinah Kaniki’s Trinical Skincare stall sells skincare products she makes herself. She said it was inspiring to hear the talk from Dr Anna Mokgokong, the founder and chairperson of Community Investment Holdings.  

“She is the person I want to be like. She’s a medical doctor, and I’m studying towards that, and she is an entrepreneur. So that really touched me to say you can do it all… you don’t have to have one niche in life.” 

A customer takes in the scents of Mthenjwa Mazibuko’s handmade soaps at the student entrepreneur market. Photo: Tylin Moodley

Nerrisa Maripane, a biological sciences student browsing the market on Friday, said it was inspiring as she hopes to open her own crochet business. “You get ideas from just seeing… like skincare I can actually do this, candles I can do this,” she said. 

The market boasted an array of products such as skincare, food and even services like tutoring in various high school subjects. Mthenjwa Mazibuko, selling his homemade soap brand, The Scent Company, said this market was the “first gig” where he could showcase his product. He said, “Hearing [the guest speakers] speak inspired me to pull through with this… sometimes you have that self-doubt because my product is new so maybe people might not like it.”  

After looking through all the stalls, September told Wits Vuvuzela, “It’s wonderful to see our student entrepreneurs showcasing what they are doing. I was impressed by the range of stuff from chips all the way to skincare products… and the online campus life… so very impressed and very proud.” 

On Thursday, August 25, students presented their ideas on  alternatives to combat the ongoing energy crisis in South Africa. The winning team’s Siyasanga Nyangiwe said, “It was exciting to win, we slept very late, we had like 24 hours to come up with the idea… It’s very exciting to finally celebrate.” 

The team presented their idea about biogas as a solution to the electricity issues in the country and won vouchers to dine at Olive and Plates. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Witsies gather around the wide range of stalls of student entrepreneurs hoping to grow their small businesses on Library Lawns. Photo: Tylin Moodley