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The newly launched SU Techpreneurship Centre has announced the graduation of its first cohort of South Africa’s Stellenbosch University graduates, SU faculty, and corporate employees that have completed the six-week programme.
According to SU LaunchLab, at the end of the programme 70% of SU graduates were offered full-time internships after completing the course. As a result, the SU Techpreneurship Centre is creating a much-needed link between graduates and the SA tech industry, offering a way for techpreneurs to get their foot in the door.
The SU Techpreneurship Centre is creating a much-needed link between graduates and the SA tech industry, offering a way for techpreneurs to get their foot in the door
In a press release, Joshua Romisher, CEO of SU LaunchLab views the success of the initial cohort as a huge verification of an innovative hybrid model that brings together various SU Facilities and affiliated entrepreneurial service providers such as SU LaunchLab .
“In terms of SU’s Vision 2040, the initiative contributes to creating a transformative student experience in that this learning journey will provide a seamless transition into the workforce through practical experience with SU LaunchLab startups and its partners,” said Romisher.
With 70 applications received only 18 participants were selected for the six-week bootcamp training. SU Launchlab has reported that the majority of the participants were engineering graduates, followed by participants with backgrounds in mathematics, economics, management sciences, computer science, natural sciences, and humanities.
Altus Viljoen, coordinator of the Techpreneurship Centre provides insight into the mechanics of the programme.
“During the six-week programme the participants acquired new industry-relevant technical data science, machine learning, cloud computing, and IT soft skills. They were also given insight into the fundamentals of entrepreneurship in terms of personal development and growth, as well as developing an entrepreneurial mindset through design thinking,” said Viljoen. “We have also seen great interest in the employability of our graduates – companies have interviewed 90% of our graduates seeking internships, and 70% have received offers so far”.
According to reports, the SU Techpreneurship Centre plans to host and facilitate three additional programmes this year.
The next programme is expected to take place in June 2021.
Tanya Meyer, a participant in programme explains that it was instrumental in fast-tracking progress for her MEng research project in Machine Learning and Data Science.
“It skyrocketed my Python programming skillset whilst developing my previously non-existent, soft tech skills with lots of guest speaker talks, entrepreneurship sessions, and colleague collaboration.”
The SU Techpreneurship Centre
The SU Techpreneurship Centre is new data science and entrepreneurial development upskilling initiative developed by the SU LaunchLab.
Prof Stan du Plessis, SU’s Chief Operations Officer, expresses that the University’s investment into the LaunchLab is proving to be a sound one.
“When we made funds available from SU’s Strategic Fund, we expected a good return. So far, our expectations have been exceeded. It is heartwarming to know that we are bridging the gap between the academic world and the private sector with a creative programme that gives each participant the tools to make a smooth transition into work life.”
Featured image: Leon via Unsplash