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Wits Enterprise launches new unit to develop entrepreneurs

- Wits University

Wits Commercial Enterprise has launched The Entrepreneurial Wayz unit to drive entrepreneurialism and benefit South Africa.

The Entrepreneurial Wayz (TEWZ) specialises in entrepreneurial development, aligning business ecosystems, developing strategic partnerships, building entrepreneurial cultures, and providing business support to contribute towards building an entrepreneurial economy.

Professor Tawana Kupe, Acting Vice-Principal of Wits launched TEWZ at Wits Commercial Enterprise (Wits Enterprise) on Tuesday, 31 July 2018.

TEWZ is the fourth unit in Wits Commercial Enterprise, which markets and commercialises the University’s intellectual capital, research, and innovations. The other three units in Wits Enterprise are innovation support; research support; and short courses.

“Wits has various initiatives in place toward becoming an Entrepreneurial University where an entrepreneurial culture ensures that research ideas can be converted into solutions and graduates leave with experiences that allow them to contribute to the country’s development,” said Kupe.

Other speakers included Duncan Raftesath, Chief Executive of Wits Enterprise, and Professor Ahmed Bawa, Chief Executive of Universities South Africa, who delivered the keynote address.

Bawa referred to the Entrepreneurial Development in Higher Education (EDHE) project at universities, which is elevating the value and importance of entrepreneurship education and building the capacity of universities to support this. 

The entrepreneurial way

TEWZ is a response to South Africa’s socio-economic challenges and the need to prepare young people for the 21st-century global economy. By prioritizing entrepreneurial development, TEWZ contributes to building a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. TEWZ empowers young people and aspiring entrepreneurs to think beyond formal employment and start their own relevant, strong and sustainable businesses.

“Through inculcating an entrepreneurial mindset, we help to facilitate the transformation of our economy from extractive to generative. Not everyone will choose to be an entrepreneur. However, anyone can learn how to be entrepreneurial – to improve, iterate, innovate and adopt a mindset of value-adding and problem solving,” says Chimene Chetty, TEWZ director.

Although new to Wits Enterprise, the TEWZ team has extensive experience in entrepreneurial skills development and support. TEWZ was formerly the Centre of Entrepreneurship, based at Wits Business School. TEWZ builds on this foundation and its ‘pracademic’ strategic focus emphasises entrepreneurial development for broad and positive socio-economic impact.

TEWZ provides insights, skills, tools and mentoring at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey, with customised support delivered through a three-tiered approach

  1. Generator – for aspiring entrepreneurs, focusing on entrepreneurial orientation
  2. Incubator – for businesses getting established
  3. Accelerator – for businesses that are ready to scale-up.