The Entrepreneurship Development Academy is the heart of entrepreneurial development and thinking at GIBS. The Academy specialises in understanding entrepreneurship, enabling business owners to understand the environment within which they work and thrive within it. We work with entrepreneurs in both the formal and informal sectors, at various stages of their business development, from start-up through to high-impact growth. The Academy has an extensive research portfolio, leading the first national mapping study of social enterprises in South Africa, and with numerous publications in the green economy, social and youth entrepreneurship.
The Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA) is a unit within GIBS focused on supporting entrepreneurs.
Since inception in 2012, the Academy has trained over 2,300 entrepreneurs. These people and their businesses generate over R3.2 billion in revenue, and a majority show consistent growth in revenue and jobs. The Academy is built on the premise that entrepreneurial mindset and attitude is as important as technical skill especially in the South African climate where entrepreneurial activity is said to be low for a developing nation.
Unemployment is at 29% of the adult population, yet the number of people starting businesses due to having no other option for work (necessity entrepreneurship) is low. According to the GEM report, in South Africa 10.6% of the population aged 18-64 years are nascent or owner-managers of small businesses (early-stage entrepreneurial activity) and 2.15% are owner-managers of established businesses i.e. businesses that have paid salaries, wages and other payments for more than 42 months. That coupled with a fear of failure perpetuates the absence of successful, sustainable entrepreneurs. Therefore, we believe successful entrepreneurs can be made (as opposed to the notion that entrepreneurs are born).
The Academy’s primary focus is making business education accessible to start-up, micro and small business entrepreneurs, especially those who have been underserved or marginalised. In doing so, our purpose is to help small business owners to develop sustainable, efficient enterprises that are able to employ more people.
Our Social Entrepreneurship efforts are focused on developing and researching South Africa’s social enterprises. These are the organisations that generate both social and economic value, blending the social mission of charities with the approach and profit motive of business. Our work in this sector positioned us as the first university unit in the country focusing on social entrepreneurship and our year-long Social Entrepreneurship Programme is a pioneer in its field. The team has led major research projects including the first study to identify social enterprises in South Africa and published The Disruptors – social entrepreneurs re-inventing business and society in 2016 and The Disruptors 2 in 2018.