Entrepreneurship and Empowerment in South Africa
The Entrepreneurial Adventure of a Lifetime
Entrepreneurship and Empowerment in South Africa (EESA) is a life-changing experience, where students help historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs in the townships around beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. This special program is open to upper level undergraduate and graduate students regardless of their major. The key requirements for EESA are a strong work ethic, emotional maturity, creative problem-solving ability and a desire to make a difference. Coached by three faculty members, American students work with South African students on consulting teams assisting small businesses over a six week period to help make the ventures sustainable. The ventures range from catering and arts & crafts businesses to community newspapers and small construction companies. EESA is a great experience to add to your résumé as well as a once in a lifetime opportunity. EESA is a partnership between the University of Florida, Oklahoma State University, the University of Colorado, Texas A&M University, and the University of the Western Cape.
This special program is for highly motivated students who want to be agents of change. It is not limited to business majors, and so those studying sociology, engineering, information studies, architecture, economics, political science, government, social work, and other fields are welcome.
Students are formed into consulting teams and each team works with two small businesses over six weeks to help make the ventures sustainable. They work closely with the entrepreneurs based in the townships. These special individuals have managed to overcome a history of apartheid, limited education, and severely constrained resources to create small enterprises. The entrepreneurs have real passion, but struggle to survive.
The student consulting teams are expected to identify and prioritize the key needs of the entrepreneurs and make meaningful progress in addressing some of the priority needs. The focus is less on analysis and more on producing tangible deliverables that the entrepreneur can use. Students develop marketing and financial plans, create bookkeeping systems, improve operations, renegotiate contracts, and much, much more. While gaining practical experiences, students perform an important service in the townships. The program is hosted by the University of the Western Cape.