The Durban University of Technology (DUT) strives towards developing social entrepreneurship at the institution through student engagement, partnerships with relevant stakeholders and research.
Making DUT proud by obtaining an entrepreneur ‘dream come true’ opportunity, was DUT’s fourth-year Bachelor of Health Sciences in Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics student, Luvo Gugwana, for his business (Green-Arch Innovation) which deals with aquaponics concepts. His company’s aim is to bring together environmentally sustainable farming that meets the demands of a growing population. The charismatic, young lad is one of the 14 local social entrepreneurs chosen to be part of the 2019 Red Bull Amaphiko Academy class.
The aim of the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy is to offer crucial support to grass-roots social entrepreneurs by providing them with mentorship, coaching and assistance to unlock various business opportunities.
Upon hearing of his achievement, Gugwana said he was elated to gain a chance to enhance his entrepreneur skills at the academy. “I was filled with excitement, especially after a series of rigorous interviews and the assessment selection process. To be selected in the top 14 out of hundreds of applicants in South Africa is truly an honour and a sign of the potential my enterprise has,” he said excitedly.
For Gugwana, this dream would not have been possible if he was not recommended by Lana-Ann Brady, who is the faculty advisor of Enactus DUT, to apply for the programme. “The programme called for entries from South African Social entrepreneurs. I first went through an online application, which was then followed by interviews and project visits,” he said.
Gugwana is also a former president of the DUT Enactus team. “Coming through the semi-finals was an outstanding highlight for the DUT team at the Enactus World Cup in the US recently. This is also a light of hope for our country, meaning that we have young and vibrant students that seek to make a significant difference in our country,” he added.
He further stressed that, this meant that DUT was taking a stance towards producing competent graduates who would be productive global citizens. “Enactus has enormously contributed to my professional and leadership skills development, especially refining my business acumen,” he said.
He also emphasized that DUT has shaped him as a student and entrepreneur to grow to such successes. “It all stems from the unparalleled support one receives from the DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement office, the VC’s office, Enactus, and especially the Medical Orthotics and Prosthetic Department, for allowing me to do projects out of the scope of my study curriculum and provide flexibility from my busy academic schedule. DUT has set a precedence, both locally and globally, and is a classic example of what students can achieve when provided with sufficient support and guidance,” he said.
In terms of his future, Gugwana said he envisaged using the entrepreneurial approach to create opportunities for vast majority of South Africans. “Our country is faced with a number of socio-economic issues, unemployment being one of the country’s trajectories. I will pursue entrepreneurship and use it as a tool to address many challenges in our society and to foster international collaboration through entrepreneurship,” he said.
Gugwana said he also wants to divert entrepreneurship to his field of study once he qualified as a health professional.
Pictured: Luvo Gugwana