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New Student Entrepreneurship Hub launched

- Wits University

The E-Hub marks the beginning of a new era in fostering student-led innovation and entrepreneurship.

Officially launched on 8 May 2024, the E-Hub is a collaboration between Wits University and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), supported by the Department of Small Business Development.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal Wits University, Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, joined by the Acting CEO of SEDA, Nkosinathi Mbatha and the Deputy Director General of the Department of Small Business Development, Thulisile Manzini.

Speaking at the launch, Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal, said the E-Hub heralds in a new era for Wits students to hone their entrepreneurial skills: “This is part of what we envisage as a university, to not only educate but to  create a space for entrepreneurship.”

Located in The Matrix building (ground floor) on the Braamfontein Campus East, the E-Hub is a communal space where student entrepreneurs can meet and collaborate to develop innovative solutions and sustainable businesses. This initiative is part of the Student Entrepreneurship Education and Development (SEED) programme, coordinated by the Development and Leadership Unit in the Centre for Student Development, a division of Student Affairs.

Luke Renton, a third-year Bachelor of Science in Computer Sciences student who represented the University at the Innovation Summit in Kigali, Rwanda earlier this year, expressed his excitement: "It is so exciting to be a part of an Entrepreneurship Hub where I can meet people and be inspired to grow in entrepreneurship," he said.

The Dean of Student Affairs at Wits, Jerome September, highlighted the significance of the new space, stating, "This space will enhance student participation in entrepreneurship and boost the students’ self-immersion in the student entrepreneurship programmes as a pathway to engagement in innovation." The E-Hub boasts modern amenities designed to meet the diverse needs of student entrepreneurs, including an expansive events area, co-working booths, and versatile meeting rooms.

New Student Entrepreneurship Hub launched

Echoing this, Nkosinathi Mbatha, acting CEO of SEDA, emphasised the importance of supporting and funding local innovation, “I challenge this centre. In the next five years, we need to see a few entities coming from this centre that have been supported through funding and other business development support activities," said Mbatha.

The event concluded with an exhibition showcasing the businesses of student entrepreneurs from the SEED programme, demonstrating the transformative impact of the E-Hub and the SEED programme on their entrepreneurial journeys. "The future is in SMMEs in terms of the economic growth of this country," proclaimed Thulisile Manzini, Deputy Director General of Small Businesses, during her keynote address.

To watch the live stream recording of the launch, please click here.