NWU to battle it out at Universities Business Challenge 2018
When it comes to entrepreneurial training and development the North-West University (NWU) is blazing a trail within the South African higher education sector. This year, no less than 10 Enactus teams will represent the university at the intra-university round of the Universities Business Challenge (UBC) 2018.
The aim of the challenge is to introduce and capacitate South African university students to the world of entrepreneurship by means of business simulation training. According to Annelie Steenkamp, assistant manager at the NWU’s bhive Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) in Vanderbijlpark, a total of 30 teams – representing both the campuses in Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark – signed-up for the competition.
According to Annelie, all participants across the country attended business simulation training workshops earlier in the year in preparation for the completion. “The business simulations that are used, is based on real-world business environment challenges and place students in a context where they will gain exposure to business challenges outside of their normal academic activities,” explains Annelie and adds that simulations also afford students the opportunity to develop business strategies, balance critical interdependencies and make decisions within a risk-free environment. During the course of the challenge the teams act as custodians of these virtual enterprises and as such profitability is an important business outcome.
After the training and first qualifying round, the teams are lessened to 10 per participating institution. These teams then advance to the intra-university round which takes place from 16 July to 8 August. From this round, the top 10 teams nationally will be selected based on their performance, and progress to the final round.
The final round will see the top 10 teams travel to Johannesburg to compete in the final round during the annual Student Entrepreneurship Week (SEW). The event will be hosted at the GE Africa Innovation Centre.
UBC Challenge: a background
The UBS Challenge is sponsored by General Electric (GE) as part of the company’s CSI focus areas, namely: education, entrepreneurship and the environment. These focus areas are aligned with the National Development Plan (NDP) of South Africa and the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The South African rendition of the UBC Challenge is based on a similar competitions for university students in the UK, where the UBC has been running for more than 20 years.
This year marks the second rendition of the South African competition.