The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has secured R645 000-worth of funding from the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), a unit within the Gauteng Province responsible for supporting small, medium and micro enterprises ( SMMEs) within the province.
“We have been in negotiations with GEP since last year where we indicated the need for the government to be involved in making more people in the Vaal economically active via SMME training. They have decided to join our efforts,” said Dr Teboho Pitso, Senior Project Manager for Academic Development at VUT.
“The purpose of the funding is to provide additional training to SMMEs that we have already trained in the Anglo/VUT Entrepreneurs Programme. These include companies run by students and staff. The additional training will be in the area of an Electronic Financial Management System for 60 companies.
“We are also signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GEP to ensure the relationship is long- term as we have done with Anglo American and Murray and Roberts,” he said.
CIE aims to provide support to key strategic objectives relating to embedding innovation and entrepreneurship across VUT as well as creating opportunities for third-stream income generation so that the university becomes more self-sufficient.
“Rather than seeing VUT’s role as mainly focused on preparing students for employment, which is a narrow focus on the technical aspects of knowledge, we could also consider our role as contributing towards building a functioning democratic society with a broader economic redistribution model leading to less poverty, less inequality, less underemployment and less unemployment (the practical aspects of knowledge),” said Dr Pitso.
“Without students that demonstrate graduate attributes such as creative problem-solving, research abilities, proactiveness, innovation and critical attitudes toward knowledge and its context of use, our curriculum and mission will be meaningless,” he said.
Students are encouraged to approach the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) for access to GEP and other funding opportunities for enterprise development.