A sum of R100 000 awaits the overall winner of the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) competition. 

The internal round of EDHE Entrepreneurial Intervarsity 2023 competition was held at Wits University on May 27, in the Senate Room at Solomon Mahlangu House. One lucky student will walk away with R5 000.  

The annual competition is held in the first quarter of each year to identify and showcase the best student entrepreneurs at South African public universities.  

Investors are brought on board to mentor the student entrepreneurs and provide the R5 000 prize money to help bring their ideas to life. The winner of the Wits internal competition will be announced on June 02, 2023. Those who remain in the race will compete in the regional and national rounds.  

Participants present mock pitches, which must include detailed information such as their business’s significance, uniqueness, and plans for the next five years. These pitches must be convincing enough to both the judging panel and investors.  If successful they will proceed to the regional round, and if successful there onto nationals.  

The internal round saw participants present ideas for businesses in beauty and cosmetics, skills training within waste management and recycling, media and visual arts start-ups, events management and more.  

There are four categories in the competition: innovative business ideas, existing business – technology, existing business – social impact, and existing business – general. This year, the competition added a fifth category, research-based business, to encourage the commercialization of research. 

According to the event organiser, Qawekazi Luke, over 200 students applied for the competition, and 114 were chosen to compete in the internal rounds. Further, 74 student entrepreneurs will compete in the regional round. 

“The competition’s positive reception and excitement among students demonstrates the University’s growing interest in entrepreneurship,” Luke said. 

“As the coordinators, part of the planning included masterclasses facilitated by the Wits Student Entrepreneurship Education and Development (SEED) program. These masterclasses focused on market research and marketing principles, business model canvas, and how to develop a pitch deck,” Luke said. 

This is where judges who are experienced in entrepreneurship and innovation step in to adjudicate the process and provide the students with valuable feedback to further develop their business ideas. 

YouTuber and second-year BA student, Lulah Mapiye said the experience was a huge confidence boost. “I have made it this far, to say I am excited is an understatement. When my turn came, I took over the stage. It was as if I transformed into another person and came back after the pitch,” Mapiye said.  

One judge Faith Mokgalaka who is a multi-award winning businesswoman, published author, product manager, and a speaker said, “Being a judge gave me a different perspective of the competition because it was not an easy and obvious process as there will only be one winner at the end,” 

The next phase of the competition will see participants compete against peers from other South African universities, to secure a spot in the finals, and one step closer to the R100 000 prize, a financial boost many of them need.

FEATURED IMAGE: Risuna Maluleke, coordinator of Student Entrepreneurship and Education Development (SEED). Photo: Supplied.