It is becoming evident that entrepreneurship is as essential to reducing economic hardship and unemployment as it is to improving the economy.
In response, the Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Ministry, under the leadership of Minister Dr Blade Nzimande, has spearheaded the addition of entrepreneurship hubs at TVET colleges to support students to move into entrepreneurship once they have completed their qualifications.
The question begs, how do TVET Colleges change the minds of the youth to seek unconventional means of financial independence?
False Bay TVET College through the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Rapid Incubator (CFERI) have developed several student-focused entrepreneurship development activities and interventions to prepare them for entrepreneurship and self-employment. Delivered through strategic partnerships with public and private sectors, the main incubation programme is funded through the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA).
Not just another formatted business plan and market day, the False Bay TVET College CFERI inspires and inculcates entrepreneurial thinking coupled with formal training and practical business experience.
The result since its establishment 7 years ago, the CFERI has:
- Trained 5763 TVET students.
- Supported 702 SMME Clients (within the geographical footprint of the College Campuses)
- Helped create 110 new SMME’s which resulted in 226 new jobs
As demographic groups are evolving, the typical Gen Zer is a self-driver, is highly collaborative and social, and values authenticity and non-hierarchical leadership. They are seeking alternative innovative methods of breaking the norm. This mindset creates a favourable springboard for entrepreneurship to thrive.
How is the False Bay TVET College CFERI ready to receive the pioneering generation?
This concept is used in business development, where those in start-ups are incubated from the initiation stage to a stage where the business can thrive on its own. Business incubators offer business support services such as bespoke business management training, coaching, and mentoring, linking businesses to markets and finance opportunities, and offering equipment and space for businesses to operate until they reach sustainability.
The False Bay TVET College Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator is currently located at the Westlake Campus offering the necessary infrastructure, facilities, equipment, and tools that entrepreneurs can use to design and make their products or prototypes. This is backed by product development and technical support and coaching. This facility helps businesses in the technical and manufacturing fields to build attractive products and gain traction in their businesses comprising;
- Furniture and Metal Fabrication Mini Factory – With tools, welding, milling, and turning equipment.
- Maker’s Space – Computers with engineering and general design software, 3D printing, laser cutting and vinyl cutting equipment.
- Coding Lab – Consisting of a 10-seater computer lab for the benefit of entrepreneurs in the ICT, digital, and design Industries.
- Drone Accelerator Facility – Fitted with high-performance 3D printers, milling and electronics for entrepreneurs who venture into the drone operation, maintenance, and manufacturing space. This space is fitted with equipment and software for start-ups to use to grow their businesses.
Changing the mindset: Entrepreneurship and Student Engagement
Students are made aware of the College CFERI services during their orientation, but it’s not enough to entice someone with an idea to bring it to fruition.
Additional engagement opportunities arise through competitions, college activations or campaigns throughout the year. Entrepreneurship needs to be accessible and approachable, creating the impetus for the on-campus Ignition Cafe which both students and SMME’s in the campus’s surrounding communities can utilise. On-call access to entrepreneurial development learning and business support services. Entrepreneurship promotion is a shared responsibility, incorporating messaging and initiatives in all that is TVET.
Changing the narrative, entrepreneurship is no longer a subject in the curriculum. It’s a movement of which False Bay TVET College is leading the way. The College CFERI was instrumental and a key driver in coordinating and unlocking the partnership with Allan Gray for the Northern & Western Cape Allan Gray & Future Managers 1st Regional TVET Intercollege Entrepreneurship Competition 2022. Based on the success of the first event, the National TVET Intercollege Entrepreneurship Competition will be an annual occurrence.
Working together with policymakers to develop a typical service offering by CFERI’s nationally, including best practices, and support programs for youth-owned enterprises, empowering TVET Colleges to bolster the sustainability of CFERI and its beneficiaries.
False Bay TVET College CFERI hosted the inaugural DHET Entrepreneurship Best Practices workshop in 2022 of which the CFERI Manager, Ms. Nafeesa Dinie in her opening address said, “The aim is to develop a strong supporting SMME development ecosystem through events of this nature, which creates an opportunity for the development of co-creation models and collaboration amongst all shareholders and stakeholders in driving TVET entrepreneurship programs and services.”
Entrepreneurship is not just for the privileged, it’s for anyone from any socio-economic background who desires to change their narrative. The government, education systems, financial institutions, and communities are all making advances to stimulate the economy. By simply choosing to buy locally, and support the smaller service providers, consumers need to choose responsibility to join the movement. False Bay TVET College CFERI is proud to be setting the trajectory to SMME development and sustainability for future employers.