The Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA) is the heart of entrepreneurial development and thinking at GIBS. The EDA 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 business growth, in multiple geographic locations as well as through online programme delivery. The EDA has an extensive and diverse research portfolio, leading the first national mapping study of social enterprises in South Africa, and with numerous publications in the green economy, social, youth and township-based entrepreneurship.
Since inception in 2012, the EDA has trained over 2,700 entrepreneurs. These people and their businesses generate over R3.6 billion in revenue, and a majority show consistent growth in revenue and jobs. The EDA 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. The EDA’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.
Our #GrowYourBiz programme, in partnership with the Walmart Foundation, provides targeted support to growing small businesses across South Africa. This is done through business training and peer-to-peer coaching aimed at helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses into viable entities. A snapshot of our 50 delegates and their businesses can be seen here.
In association with J.P Morgan we embarked on a series of conversations that formed the basis for a Small Business Survival Toolkit to assist SMME's during the COVID-19 pandemic. The free 10-part podcast series can be found here.