NWU Vaal claims top ranking in Intervarsity Pitch Competition - Be!Bold 2015

Annette Willemse -- Tue, 05/26/2015 - 13:53

NWU Vaal claims top ranking in Be!Bold Intervarsity Pitch Competition

The phrase “Yebo, yes!” gets a totally new meaning when you meet the dynamic team of the Young Entrepreneur Business Organisation (YEBO) on the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal). YEBO recently earned the top spot in the national Be!Bold Intervarsity Pitch Competition.

The competition is the brainchild of well-known social entrepreneur, Charles Maisel.

Be!Bold represents an experiential learning process of educating the youth about entrepreneurship and the aim is to ultimately establish an innovation culture on 40+ university campuses in 2015/2016 by hosting pitching as well as idea generation events. These events will support the business or social business ideas of entrepreneurial groups – such as YEBO, so that they can effectively reach their target market and by doing so increasing the successful commercialisation rate of business start-ups among the youth.  The competition focuses on the target group 17-28 years, of which 75% are representative of the black youth demographic.

The following institutions of higher learning are currently taking part in the competition:

  • University of Limpopo
  • University of Venda
  • North-West University
  • University of Zululand
  • Central University of Technology
  • Mangosothu University of Technology
  • Fort Hare University
  • Walter Sisulu University
  • University of Stellenbosch
  • Tshwane University of Technology
  • University of Johannesburg
  • Varsity College
  • University of Cape Town
  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • University of the Western Cape
  • University of Pretoria
  • Wits University
  • Vaal University of Technology
  • University of the Free State
  • University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
  • Durban University of Technology
  • Rhodes University
  • University of Johannesburg

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report – 2013, has recognized that South Africa is the second worst performing country in the world in entrepreneurship and innovation. According to the report on entrepreneurship (April 2013) South Africa has a 14% rate of intentional entrepreneurs amongst 18-24 year olds only 5% are involved in early stage entrepreneurial activity. Recession around the world also means that entrepreneurship is becoming more important for many youth in countries like USA, Spain, Portugal, and China, and the UK.

According to Natanya Meyer, lecturer within the School of Economic Sciences and the guardian of YEBO, the youth needs encouragement to follow through on their dreams and become true innovators. “The Be!Bold initiative provides youth at university level a secure space from where they can take their first steps towards becoming future entrepreneurs,” says Meyer. In an effort to empower young entrepreneurs even further additional workshops have been hosted on the Campus – the first focusing on Social Entrepreneurship and the second focusing on Pitch Training.

Mrs Natanya Meyer (front left) is the guardian of the YEBO group Fun during one of the workshops

More about the competition

According to the Be!Bold website it is estimated that through the South African university network there are over 600 000 students enrolled at higher education institutions every year and this means a massive opportunity for South African students to take on the world as entrepreneurs. 

Meyer furthermore explains that the Be!Bold system creates a space where young university based entrepreneurs – such as YEBO, and people surrounding the universities can take the first step by presenting new ideas in a safe space. The various pitch sessions encourage youth, whether ideas are accepted or not, and provide feedback to every young person as well as ongoing mentorship. This supportive system will develop a new brand of innovative entrepreneur. The YEBO team has successfully completed two pitch sessions thus far, and will face another two sessions during the second semester.

The Final Intervarsity Competition will create the environment for national publicity for young entrepreneurs.  

The competition itself

Each Entrepreneur Society (representative of an institution of higher learning) will choose their top business idea to pitch in December to a panel of international judges and interested corporates.

The competition will be split into 2 divisions, Rural and Urban. The Rural Intervarsity challenge will be focused on social innovation and sponsored by the SAB foundation. The Urban Intervarsity challenge will be focused on any business or social business innovation and is sponsored by Merill Lynch.

For more information about YEBO, please visit the bHive Enterprise Development Centre (bHive EDC) Facebook page.  YEBO is affiliated to the Campus Student Representative Council (CSRC) and functions under the auspices of the bHive EDC – a dynamic unit within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology.

Dr Vic Herbst presented a workshop to the YEBO students on presentation and pitch skills.
Pictured with him is Mrs Natanya Meyer, Lisa Mbali Blaai (student) and Nceba Magodla (Yebo Chairperson)