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Students and entrepreneurs from across the Eastern Cape had the opportunity to develop their business ideas through tSparx, a technology entrepreneurship training course that is funded by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and was hosted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Rhodes University and Propella Business Incubator this past week. 

The course provided participants with the tools to develop a business case and inspired their entrepreneurial journey through lectures, case studies, visits and presentations by entrepreneurs.

“It’s a tough week for the students, but it really gives them a sense of what it takes to be an entrepreneur – the hard times and the benefits”, said Director of the NMMU Innovation Office Jaci Barnett.

At the end of the week, participants were assessed by a panel of judges and given feedback on how to improve their business concepts. The participants will now have the opportunity to apply for the next level of the programme - the Advanced Technology Entrepreneur programme – a precursor programme to the SA Innovation Summit in Pretoria. Ten of the national delegates to this programme will be selected to attend a fully sponsored five-day VentureLeader programme in Switzerland in December and the opportunity to pitch at the Zurich Google Pitchfest.

“I am so proud to see the growth in the candidates that attended this year’s programme and grateful to our partners in the Eastern Cape for their support. We are looking forward to seeing more delegates form the region qualifying for the Swiss VentureLeader programme”, said Karen Eksteen, Innovation Skills Development Manager of TIA.

*CAPTION: Acting as judges and facilitators at tSparx this past week are (from left to right) Wayne Oosthuizen (Propella), Naazlene Patel (NMMU Innovation Office), Karen Eksteen (TIA), Jaci Barnett (NMMU Innovation Office) and Barry Wiseman (Engeli Enterprise Development).