Student entrepreneurs showcasing their business ideas at the UKZN InQubate Elevator Pitch Campus Challenge.

UKZN hosts Inqubate Business Pitch Finals

UKZN InQubate recently participated in the National Student Entrepreneurship Week at the Howard College and Pietermaritzburg campuses through its Entrepreneurial Skills Programme, ENSPIRE, launched earlier this year.

ENSPIRE held back-to-back elevator pitch challenges on recently. Students from across the University were invited to pitch their business ideas. The top 10 finalists from each campus then got a chance to pitch their innovative business ideas before a seasoned panel of judges.

Judges at the event held at Howard College included Aurelia Alberts (CEO of Innovate Durban), Dave Pons (serial entrepreneur), Elizabeth Nhliziyo (eThekwini Municipality Business Support), Colin Openshaw (Eskom) and Melanie Reddy (Nedbank). For the challenge held at the Pietermaritzburg campus, the judges were Lindokuhle Makhaye (LusizoIT), Chantol Joshua (Nedbank), Kim Kirton (Unlimited), Vume Mbatha (Nedbank) and Bongi Mshengu (Bhekani Consulting).

The winning business idea at Howard College campus was that of Tigere Paidamoyo Muringa and Desmond Takundwa Hakurekwi. Their idea was starting a digital and print news platform called Varsity Press, focusing on providing the student population with news and entertainment. The number one spot in Pietermaritzburg went to Zamokuhle Thwala whose idea was to create QuickApp; an app that makes job application easier.

All finalists that pitched their business ideas will receive business mentorship through ENSPIRE which will aid in further refining and developing their ideas to facilitate their entrepreneurship journey. The objective of the mentorship is to assist students to develop practical business skills and for them to get guidance from business experts in starting up their businesses.

UKZN InQubate Director, Ms Suvina Singh, said she was excited about the enthusiasm of the students in entrepreneurship and the passion and commitment displayed by the students in the ENSPIRE programme. ENSPIRE aims to encourage, nurture and boost entrepreneurial spirit and initiatives within the University of KwaZulu-Natal community, striving towards Inspiring Greatness.

Words: Sbusiso Hlongwa and Zanele Dube

Photographs: Sbusiso Hlongwa