The Centre for Entrepreneurship (Cef) launched at the King Hintsa FET College for Agriculture in Butterworth last week promises to be a pioneer institution in agro-processing studies.
The promise was made by the centre’s director Jomo Jacobs who added that the Centre will offer practical studies that will help graduates look at self-employment as a viable option. This will go a long way in addressing the skills shortage and lack of work experience that sees most of our unemployed and graduates struggle to secure jobs.
The Centre was launched by the deputy minister of trade and industry, Elizabeth Thabethe, on Friday last week.
The Centre forms part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) programme to establish platforms with FET Colleges to develop local entrepreneurs.
Thabethe said it was a well-known fact that the entrepreneurship development strategy would open new avenues for currently dormant and potential entrepreneurs.
She said South Africa needed entrench entrepreneurship within the education system and raise general awareness and acceptance of business formation as a realistic and profitable option.
“As you may be aware, attempts have been made in recent years to provide entrepreneurship development support in a more coherent and comprehensive way. It is particularly in the light of the catalyst role it plays that the centre can develop local communities. The centre will continue to grow in serving entrepreneurs in this area, and serve as a hub for information and training,” she added.
According to Thabethe, a seed funding of R 3-million was allocated towards the setting up of the first phase of the centre.
“With the allocated funds the institution needs to ensure they establish a functional system and that they also set-up a monitoring and evaluation system,” she said.
Thabethe added that the DTI was also partnering with the University of Johannesburg to offer capacity building training for the lecturers and that the institution will also be expected to come up with a selection criteria to identify potential candidates.
“Once all systems have been set-up, we will move into the second phase which will involve training. We are going to be linking with an incubation programme to support potential entrepreneurs and we will also link them with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) for training,” she explained.
The deputy minister education must be driven in such a way that business ventures can become a choice rather than a last resort for students. “Investments geared towards developing entrepreneurship should lead students on a path to self-sufficiency for them to become productive citizens”.