CEI Fellowship Programme boosts local businesses

The University of the Western Cape allowed small business owners to boost their business skills and grow their businesses this year through the Centre of Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s Fellowship Programme.

The Fellowship Programme – presented by UWC’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), and sponsored by the Western Cape Government ; Economic Development and Tourism – started as an incubation and e-skills Supplier Development programme last year. But it has transformed itself into a business support project where entrepreneurs can receive tried and tested advice from their peers.

The 19 fellows are UWC and CPUT vendors and have been provided with unique opportunities and experiences that are not typically available to many entrepreneurs. They attend workshops, receive peer consulting, exchange and field service opportunities, and also have the chance to connect and collaborate with other distinguished change makers in the development field aligned to their industry. Earlier this month, UWC gave vendors the opportunity to participate in a variety of business and entrepreneurship workshops to keep their skills sharp.

UWC vendor and Entrepreneurship Fellow Ragmah Jappie started her business, Dressco Corp, seven years ago with the intention of managing and developing institutional brands through retail.

She says her success in her business came through creating exclusivity in it. Instead of simply being a corporate supplier to UWC, she made it more attractive for the students by following more fashion trends and making it more appealing for the young generation.

Jappie says the fellow programme serves as an effective platform for vendors to build strong relationships with each other, and also with UWC. “This is a good opportunity to see if I am on the right path – the fellowship programme is even better this year, as this one is offering hands-on support for me to be even more successful.”

Her plan is to penetrate community sport clubs in areas that need it – without compromising on quality.

The fellowship programme has also given her the opportunity to launch her own sport brand FIEKA last year, which currently has retails outlets at UWC and Northlink College.

Kuils River resident, Dudley Kearns, is the owner of Chef’s connection in Tygerberg Industrial, manufacturing cakes and desserts. When he was a chef at one of the biggest hotels in Cape Town, Kearns saw a gap in the market and started his own cake business in 2003. Starting with four staff members, it has since grown to 24 staff members. He provides his products to UWC and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

UWC’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UWC consolidates and coordinates entrepreneurship and innovation activities at the University, highlighting student and staff successes, promoting the sharing of knowledge and expertise, and helping to develop an academic programme in entrepreneurship.

For more information about the programme, contact Charleen Duncan on 021 959 9551 or via email at cduncan@uwc.ac.za.​

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