Eight South African students in entrepreneurship from four universities will be picked to be part of a fellowship at one of Ryerson University incubators in Toronto, Canada.
The initiative announced yesterday at Wits University will see students pitch for a place for this opportunity. The eight winners will attend one of Ryerson’s incubators, including the renowned Digital Media Zone (DMZ).
The students will receive mentorship, business development advice and gain valuable international experience. The fellowships will be offered to student entrepreneurs at four universities: three from the University of Witwatersrand, two from the University of Johannesburg, two from Stellenbosch University and one from the University of Venda.
Ryerson University President and Vice-Chancellor Sheldon Levy made the announcement at Wits University as part of a multi-day tour of South Africa where he is meeting with government and university officials. “The future of the global economy is in the hands of our young people,” said Levy. “Ryerson is proud to partner with South African universities in promoting entrepreneurial innovation and great ideas.”
Professor Adam Habib, Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal, said collaborations with universities such as Ryerson are of the utmost importance for the development of future entrepreneurs and leaders on the African continent. “Entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in the social and economic development of South Africa and Africa. It is imperative for higher education institutions to play their part in nurturing, training and developing future entrepreneurs and we welcome the three Ryerson fellowships for aspiring entrepreneurs.”
As part of the fellowships at Ryerson, the South African entrepreneurs will be provided with transportation, accommodation and a three-to-four-month placement at a Ryerson zone where they will receive office space, mentorship, networking and collaboration opportunities other startup companies. Each participating university will provide a short list of applicants for the fellowships, based on video pitches and a business plan, with the final candidates chosen by a zone steering committee. Ryerson University has previously collaborated in India, Israel and China to build entrepreneurial bridges.
Ryerson has a number of incubators including the Centre for Urban Energy, Fashion Zone, Design and Fabrication Zone as well as the DMZ. Opened in 2010, the DMZ is one of Canada’s largest incubators and multidisciplinary co-working spaces for young entrepreneurs.
For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca/dmz.