The Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) shared its vision to cultivate a thriving startup culture in the Province with members of the business sector at the launch of the first ever Startup Weekend in Durban in September.

This creative global initiative, termed the biggest entrepreneurial event ever, will be hosted by the GSB&L from 27 to 29 September.

The weekend-long hands-on experience aims to empower aspiring entrepreneurs on the process of developing an innovative idea into a successful and viable startup business. It is envisaged that through this community engagement initiative the GSB&L will inspire a startup culture which is vital to sustainability and economic growth in our Province.

In his address, GSB&L’s Dean and Head of School, Professor Stephen Migiro, reaffirmed the School’s commitment to Entrepreneurship and responsible community engagement and called on the business community to support the entrepreneurial promotion event.

Startup Weekend Durban lead organiser and Associate Professor and champion of Entrepreneurship at the GSB&L, Professor Shahida Cassim, said sponsors play an important role in the event. ‘Getting involved in Startup Weekend gives you the opportunity to contribute to kickstarting the entrepreneurial ecosystem of our region. Stimulating entrepreneurhsip holds potential for employment creation.

‘Your participation gives you access to a global community of entrepreneurs associated with Startup Weekend. Sponsoring corporate participants will unlock the creative potential within you organisation and provide avenues for growth.’

As a precursor to the Startup weekend, the GSB&L will host an innovation bootcamp on August 24. The purpose of the bootcamp is to ignite the creative and innovative process in individuals who lack the confidence in their ability to develop feasible ideas.

The official event will kick off with open oral pitches on 27 September.  Participants bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. On the Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practising lean startup methodologies and building minimal viable products. On Sunday, teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of expert judges.

Entrepreneurs will get an opportunity to network and engage with successful business owners, experts on lean startup methodologies through to coaches and judges who come from diverse backgrounds. This will inspire the participants to diversify and expand their ideas utilising the wealth of knowledge they have benefitted from, through engaging with the experts in a variety of different sectors.

Dr Naledi Moyo-Ndwandwe, Deputy City Manager at Ethekwini Municipality which is a key partner in the initiative, applauded the initiative and pledged council’s support to ensure the event was a success.

‘Universities play a huge role in economic development therefore it is right for UKZN to be involved with this initiative. Tripartite partnerships between the city, the business sector and academia are critical to local economic development. We need to create a hub for entrepreneurial programmes which encourage local economic development so key to our economic growth,’ said Ndwandwe.

For more information on Startup Weekend visit:

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