Change needed in entrepreneurial knowledge

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Prof. Henk de Jager, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at CUT; Prof. Joan Lockyer, Director of Education, International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship (ICTE) at Coventry University; Dr Herman Mashaba, CUT alumnus, Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Hammanskraal-born businessman and founder of Black Like Me founder, with Prof. Albert Strydom, Dean of Management: Sciences.

Ideas of entrepreneurship need to change, especially for young people, in order to develop the South African economy. This is according to Prof. Joan Lockyer, Director of Education and International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship (ICTE) at Coventry University, during a lecture at the Central University of Technology (CUT) last week.

During her presentation on transformational entrepreneurship, Prof. Lockyer expressed that people between the ages of 24-34 years are least entrepreneurially active as compared with the mature age group of 45-54.

“South Africa is an efficiency-driven economy and people do not feel that they have the skills for entrepreneurship in the wider population,” she explained. Prof. Lockyer also said that there is a disconnection between what is taught in institutions and what is happening in the outside world.

The renowned professor explained how their university interprets transformational entrepreneurship within their programmes and why they believe it is an important alternative perspective to the normal approach to entrepreneurship, as well as why they think it is important and valuable in terms of the socio-economic development of South Africa.

“When we talk about enterprise, we refer to the ways of thinking, of approaching a subject, and using what we have to transform our jobs or workplaces with the skills and attributes of an entrepreneur, without starting a business.

For us, transformation is about creating an ecosystem that enables socio-economic change to be productive,” said Prof. Lockyer.

Issues related to gender equality in the socio-economic space were also addressed at the 5th annual Herman Mashaba Public lecture. “In South Africa, gender parity is improving and that needs to be encouraged and supported. Our role is to make the impossible possible. It’s never easy, simple and straight forward because we live in a complex world and we talk to our students about metacognition,” said Lockyer.

“We try to get them to think beyond the obvious solutions to problems and encourage them to not only think about getting a job after graduating. By getting them to think in this metacognitive way, we are saying that education gives tools while experience gives knowledge of the world.

We need to bring these two together and see where it takes us and use the metacognitive understanding to create space for ourselves,” she added.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele
nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za