The YEC 2014 Student Entrepreneurs’ Conference
The Youth Entrepreneurship Connect (YEC) 2014 Student Entrepreneurs’ Conference was hosted on Saturday 27 September at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) and the theme of this year’s conference was "Changing Tomorrow’s Africa, Today!"
The Department of Economic Development and Tourism, under the guidance of the Enterprise Development (ED) unit worked closely with a representative group of young people from University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Stellenbosch University.
The ED unit has identified the hosting of the Youth Entrepreneurship Connect Conference as an ideal mechanism to promote and encourage entrepreneurship amongst students and young people in the Western Cape. These five Western Cape universities were also actively involved in the development of the conference programme and in the identification of speakers.
YEC 2014 featured a variety of insightful workshops and keynote addresses, as well as inspiring pitches by students that have solid business ideas or that have started their own businesses. Topics that were up for discussion included "Entrepreneurship in Global Context vs Local Context" with Mr Mike Herrington, Executive Director of GEM Worldwide, as the speaker and "Youth Entrepreneurship in the South African Context", presented by Mr Khathu Ramukumba from the National Youth Development Agency.
The one day conference targeted 300 current students and young entrepreneurs from the major tertiary institutions in the Western Cape and was aimed at creating an encouraging environment for pioneering and creative young people to break-out of the employee paradigm.
YEC recognises the number of student entrepreneurs working hard to get their startups going, as well as those who need to meet and liaise with the right people to get their businesses of the ground. YEC aims to create the platform to link student entrepreneurs with fellow visionaries (who could potentially find their co-founders), practitioners in industry and academics studying entrepreneurship to help them get their idea / venture off the ground and take flight.
The objective then for the 2014 conference was to stimulate a culture of entrepreneurship amongst tertiary level students, with the aim to establish new enterprises or to strengthen their existing enterprises. Consequently, the conference promoted entrepreneurial activities through innovation in business and business in innovation and to create a vibrant and sustainable economy characterised by growth, employment and increasing equity.