NWU Vaal lectures receive international Code06 training
An internationally acclaimed approach in idea to business concept development (known as Code06) was recently taught to lecturers of the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal). The guest lecturer was Mr Martijn Huis from Groningen in Holland, who is also the course developer and owner of the Code06 program.
Mr Martijn Huis the course developer and owner of the Code06 program
The objective of this training was to teach lecturers how to facilitate the development of a business idea into a feasible business concept (product) by utilising a specific approach that supports creative thinking by relying on the skills and experience of a diverse group of people.
According to Mr Ruan Cronje, who is the manager of the soon to be established Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) on the campus, this training will inform lecturers on how to assist students in developing their business idea into a sellable product. He also added that, more training will follow to capacitate lecturers in such a way that they wouldbe able to mentor students on how to develop a business idea which will eventually grow into a start-up business. This facilitation will be nurtured and developed within the environment of a business incubator that will be housed within the EDC.
These current and coming training initiatives are made possible by a collaborated venture, designated the “bhive project”,, that was initiated by Prof Herman van der Merwe, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology in early 2011. Funding for this project has been secured from the Nederlands that will secure the achievement of the main objective of this project, which is to strengthen the Faculty of Economic Science and Information Technology to produce quality students for the job market, or to give students the capability to choose self-employment as a career opportunity.
In essence EDC will assist and facilitate the training of future entrepreneurs and the establishment of new businesses. According to Mr Cronje, the EDC wants to create a supportive environment in which all student of the NWU from any course can get help with his or her business idea. The Code06 training specifically addresses the first phase of the business lifecycle during which an entrepreneur needs to generate a viable business idea that can be operationalized through a business plan.
During the recent training every attendee had to pitch a business idea in 30 seconds. Afterwards everyone voted for the best ideas that they felt worthwhile to pursue and then created groups with the specific instruction that these groups must be multidisciplinary and therefore consist of a diverse membership such as gender, race and academic disciplines.
Some of the ideas that were developed into possible businesses were an on-campus crèche (day-care centre) for students and lecturers, an on-campus restaurant for students and lecturers, an on-campus NWU Vaal brand gift shop and business that would operationalize NWU Vaal short courses. Various creative techniques were used to develop these ideas into concepts that could be commercialised. In the end a formal presentation on these products/concepts were given by each group, which was subsequently used as criteria to vote for a winner. In this case the group with the restaurant/chill room concept proved to be the best.
Prof van der Merwe believes that initiatives like the Code06 training will ensure that students at the NWU Vaal become more cognisant of their entrepreneurial potential and henceforth assist South Africa in creating much needed jobs.
The training took place at the Quest Conference Estate in Vanderbijlpark.