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The Durban University of Technology Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (DUTCSERI) in partnership with the Launch League UK recently held a five-week Idea Validation Programme and trained 20 youth start-up student enterprises. The programme used the Launch League Canvas, a tool which assisted the student entrepreneurs to understand their business ideas and to create a one-page business plan.

The programme was open to all DUT students who are interested in running their businesses. Students came in prepared, full of brilliant ideas. The sessions consisted of peer-to-peer learning, sharing knowledge, and experiences.

According to DUTCSERI’s Marketing and Communications Officer, Snelisiwe Hlongwane the Idea Validation Programme is the process of gathering evidence around ideas through experimentation to make fast, informed and de-risked decisions.

“It’s a process that starts from an idea and typically ends with a paying customer. The purpose of idea validation is to expose the idea to the practicality of the real world before you build and release the final product or offering,” explained Hlongwane.

Speaking briefly about their partner, Launch League UK she said Launch League is an initiative of the British High Commission, a flagship programme of the UK-South Africa Tech Hub and the South African Digital Access Programme, which promotes digital inclusion and inclusive growth in the country.

Furthermore, she indicated that the centre partnered with the Launch League to equip student businesses, align them with international standard, and promote collaboration between the UK student business and ultimately contributing to the growth and success of entrepreneurs and ecosystems.

Student entrepreneurs were trained on how to utilize a strategy which includes a business model, a product road map, a point of view about partners and competitors and ideas about who the customer will be.

“We are pleased to have Launch League as one of our incubation services offering. The Launch League has brought a new dimension to the idea generation space. It is designed to teach any aspiring entrepreneur how to drive a start-up. Instead of complicating the business start-up process which is based on a lot of assumptions, one can make constant adjustments with a steering wheel called the lean start up. Using this start-up process one can learn When, Why and How to make a sharp turn called a pivot or whether he or she should preserve along our current path,” stated Hlongwane.

Expressing the Launch League UK views on the training, Hlongwane added that the launch league UK team were very impressed with DUT students’ business ideas, as a result the students received their certification of completion and they promised to support them throughout their entrepreneurship journey.

After the programme, the Centre received positive reviews from participants expressing their gratitude to DUT for hosting this programme which equipped them with so much knowledge in a short space of time. Many were confident that with the skills that they acquired, their businesses will thrive against all odds.

The next training is expected to take place next year in 2022. The Centre is planning on recruiting students once a semester which will make the training session to be held two times a year.

Pictured: DUT student entrepreneurs after completing the Idea Validation Programme.

Simangele Zuma

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