Committed to purposeful partnerships and inclusive networks, Stellenbosch University (SU) has partnered with the organisation Ranyaka to assist with the development of small businesses in the greater Stellenbosch area.
The partnership will see the opening of the Economic Hub, a space that will provide local entrepreneurs with access to various tools and types of support to help grow their businesses. The Economic Hub, a space in which to co-create, is the first of its kind in Stellenbosch and will be located at 7 Victoria Street, a historic building that once housed a clinic.
The Economic Hub is the latest in a series of entrepreneurial initiatives for which SU has partnered with Ranyaka over the past few years. Ranyaka, a non-profit urban planning consultancy, collaborates with residents, faith-based institutions, businesses, government, academic institutions, and other entities to create places where people can prosper through economic development and growth.
According to Dr Leslie van Rooi, senior director of Social Impact and Transformation, SU did not hesitate to pledge its support to the project when Ranyaka approached it to invest in the establishment of an entrepreneurship hub. Among others, SU has made a financial donation towards the revamp of the Victoria Street building.
“SU responded as the hub will focus on investing in entrepreneurs and small businesses on various levels in the greater Stellenbosch. The old clinic, now the Ranyaka Hub, is on the doorstep of the Stellenbosch campus, and as such SU, like other partners, responded to a request to help with the refurbishment of the building that indeed leads to the establishment of the Hub,” says Van Rooi.
With the support of the spaces and programmes linked to the Economic Hub, SU believes small businesses can grow into larger enterprises, thus bettering the lives of Stellenbosch residents, Van Rooi adds. “In this way, the University can continue supporting entrepreneurs in various ways, both on and off-campus.”
Marli Goussard, enterprise development consultant at Ranyaka, says the Economic Hub is one of ten programmes they are implementing in communities who need upliftment through entrepreneurship assistance. “Many small businesses have the talent and products to showcase their businesses outside their current trading areas, but lack the financial resources to rent a commercial space,” Goussard says. “Ranyaka can assist by providing them with a hub to work from until their businesses are successful enough to operate independently.”
Some of the entrepreneurs who will showcase their products at the Hub will include fashion designers, artists, beauticians, barbers, and bakers – all local to Stellenbosch. Therefore, staff and students can look forward to seeing some familiar faces.
Besides a space to do business from, Goussard says, entrepreneurs will also have access to laptops and WiFi to operate successfully. Entrepreneurs setting up shop at the Economic Hub will not be charged rent either.
“Small businesses are an important part of the country’s economy because they can provide employment to others. This project provides a platform to restore people’s dignity through employment,” says Goussard.
For more information on the Economic Hub, click here or e-mail