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Stellenbosch University Economic Impact


​The economic impact of Stellenbosch University on the Stellenbosch region is estimated to be R5 644 million* in 2018.​

A recent study by the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) at Stellenbosch University (SU) calculated the extent of the University’s significant impact on the economy of the Stellenbosch region. 

Some of the core findings are: 
  • The SU economic impact on output in the local economy is R5 644* million
  • Contributing to this are students (61%), staff (23%), creditor payments (14%) and diverse payments (2.5%)
  • More than 15% of production (or output) and more than 18% of gross value added generated in the local economy, is stimulated by the presence of the University.
  • SU’s expenditure on creditors in local economy is R352,38* million
  • SU sustains 13 406 fulltime job equivalents) in the local economy – this equates to SU sustaining more than 21% of the formal work opportunities and 8,7% of the informal opportunities.
  • The presence of SU also generates R1 223.5* million in labour remuneration In summary, almost one fifth of the economic activity in the region can be attributed to the activities of the University and its people.

The aim of the study was to give a rigourous and credible assessment and measurement of the economic contribution of the University to the economy of the Stellenbosch Municipal area. 

Although not quantifiable in monetary terms, SU could also be described as an anchor institution, which stimulates additional benefits in the region. Examples for these include research centre STIAS, the University’s technology transfer company Innovus, Maties Sport and the US Woordfees.  The value of such institutions cannot adequately be expressed in short-term economic terms. Their value spreads much further into broader society and effects the very nature of the environment and people’s lives.  

There are also considerable intangible benefits of having a university present, such as the the attraction of talent (students, entrpreneurs and professionals) the promotion of spin-off companies as well as other cultural and socio-economic benefits. Overall, the economic benefits of a university stretches beyond the primary role of being a knowledge centre and driving force of innovation within a region. 

“It is clear that the benefit of having an institution such as SU in Stellenbosch is very significant and extends beyond the direct economic benefits and fundamentally uplifts and enhances the Stellenbosch community. Not only is the University labour intensive in that it creates more wealth than its relative size, but it acts as catalyst in luring investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders alike while also actively contributing to Stellenbosch as Knowledge Region. Of equal importance however is that the study reveals that the University is indeed the kind of university SU aspirtes to be:  Africa’s leading research-intensive University, globally recognised  as inclusive and innovative, where we advance knowledge in service of society."
Prof Stan du Plessis, Chief Operation Officer of Stellenbosch University

* The research was conducted during 2017 using 2016 actual values. To arrive at 2018 Rand values the final consumer price index for 2017 was used plus the BER estimated CPI for 2018.


  Local Economic Impact – by numbers