APPLY TODAY | Master’s in entrepreneurship and new venture creation at Wits Business School

Entrepreneurship has moved beyond start-ups to encompass a range of associated careers

19 July 2021 - 13:00
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The MM-ENVC is a research-focused degree which allows prospective entrepreneurs to see the problems they face in terms of the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem in SA.
The MM-ENVC is a research-focused degree which allows prospective entrepreneurs to see the problems they face in terms of the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem in SA.
Image: Supplied/WBS

SA’s odds of rapid recovery are stacked against the economy, courtesy of political posturing, policy failure and the effects of the pandemic. To increase the odds, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) need to be at the forefront of such a recovery, says Boris Urban, programme director of the master’s degree of management in entrepreneurship and new venture creation at Wits Business School

“Growth in entrepreneurship in SA has been stalled for some time, and in terms of the number of established SMMEs, the country is way below the global average. Most aspiring entrepreneurs have limited access to capital, finance and markets, coupled with no entrepreneurial experience or relevant skills,” says Urban. 

He says the entrepreneurial ecosystem is also not favourably structured for the many SA small and medium business owners. SA has a highly inequitable rent-seeking economy where large firms dominate the competitive landscape, hold considerable market power, and erect high entry barriers that often prevent new enterprises from participating meaningfully in the economy.

“Problems of red tape, inflexible legislation, and government bureaucracy stifle entrepreneurial activity. High levels of crime and corruption serve only to worsen the situation,” says Urban.

Repaving the road for new venture creation

There is no disputing that entrepreneurship is at the heart of any functioning society and can be a powerful vehicle for growth, economic development and, most importantly, job creation. Yet, with a negative growth path and minimal inclusivity behind local entrepreneurship to date, he asks, “Where does this leave the stakes for a tangible economic turnaround?”

Entrepreneurship holds much promise if we focus on obtaining a critical mass of small and medium enterprises that are competitive, sustainable and contribute to taxation and job creation. Entrepreneurial behaviour is a learnt skill and the myth that entrepreneurs are born is misleading, Urban says. While some part of being an entrepreneur is inherent and spurred on by a person’s natural predisposition, the broader institutional environment can either bring out or suffocate entrepreneurial intentions and motivation. 

Agility imperative for entrepreneurs and employees 

We are in a new agile entrepreneur/employee era in which people need to empower themselves with an entrepreneurial mindset and develop an eye for opportunity. In Urban’s view, a self-starter mentality is crucial for young people, as today’s world requires us to ask, “How do I do more with less or with very little?”

Starting a new venture is not limited to people with a business background. It’s a universal activity open to people of all ages and at all stages of their lives. Entrepreneurship has moved beyond start-ups to encompass a range of associated careers which include corporate intrapreneurship, technopreneurship, social innovation and SMME developers working in incubators, accelerators, advisers and consultants. 

The master’s degree in entrepreneurship and new venture creation (MM-ENVC) offered at Wits Business School focuses on creating higher-level entrepreneurial knowledge and skills to help participants navigate the entrepreneurial process successfully. The one-year degree is ideal for networking and knowledge exchange, with plenty of opportunities to meet like-minded people to exchange skills, make contacts, and encourage each other to work through venture ideas. 

Recognising the myriad problems facing entrepreneurs, the MM-ENVC is a research-focused degree which allow prospective entrepreneurs to see more deeply into the problems they face in terms of the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem in SA. Urban says through exposure to the latest and best research available on entrepreneurship, students can capitalise on their entrepreneurial potential by increasing their quotient of entrepreneurial capital.  

“This postgraduate qualification is positioned to respond to the challenges of our times to create and take advantage of the opportunities in our local and broader African and global contexts. While the pandemic has been catastrophic for many entrepreneurs around the world, there are opportunities for small and medium businesses to be innovative, and to reimagine the world as a better place,” says Urban.

Apply for the postgraduate diploma or master’s degree of management in entrepreneurship and value creation at Wits Business School.

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This article was paid for by Wits Business School.

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