Change the world


Student entrepreneurship support at South African public universities to mitigate youth unemployment is the focus of a collaborative project between Nelson Mandela University, University of Pretoria, and Ghent University in Belgium.

This topic has inspired the Master’s study of Research Assistant in Business Management Riyaad Ismail to graduate cum laude on 15 December.

Under the supervision of Business Management’s Prof Shelley Farrington, the study entitled “Student Entrepreneurship Support at South African Public Universities” highlighted the best practices in the university-based entrepreneurship eco-system framework.

Past (establishment) and current (operational) challenges experienced by student entrepreneurs in their business ventures were investigated.

“We conceptualised the framework to assess the state of student entrepreneurship support offered at eight South African universities,” said Riyaad.

The process of obtaining ethics clearances from all the universities was, however, especially daunting and time-consuming and the study’s research protocol had to be amended on numerous occasions to adhere to the various institutional ethics requirements.

In addition, the pandemic hampered travelling and access to tertiary institutions significantly. However, despite these challenges, Riyaad persevered and credited his supervisor, Prof Farrington, for helping him through the process with her continuous support and guidance, improving his research skills and helping his grow as a person and as an academic.

“Maintain a positive mindset. There will be times when giving up will seem like the obvious choice. However, with self-belief, effort, and patience, you can achieve anything you set your mind to,” says Riyaad.

He credits positive peer-group pressure and a newfound desire to compete academically with his academic success, which saw him obtaining a ‘Top Student Award’ for his undergraduate BCom (General) degree, as well as his BCom Honours in Business Management degree cum laude in December 2019.

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Mr Haydn Hayidakis
Department Social Media and Digital Assistant