Entrepreneur impresses

Award-winning entrepreneur Maraka Lefera, a part-time lecturer at the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein, will participate at the first Global Entrepreneurship Summer School (Gess).

Lefera is one of the top 35 university graduates chosen to attend the global event held in Cape Town from Sunday (09/09) to Saturday, 15 September.

The 35 were selected out of approximately 747 hopeful applicants from universities around the globe.

Gess is a social entrepreneurship academy, organised in collaboration with six leading university-based entrepreneurship centres in Munich (Ludwig Maximilian University, Technical University of Munich, Munich University of Applied Sciences), Mexico City (Tecno­logoco de Monterrey) Shanghai (Tongji University) and Cape Town (LifeCo UnLtd South Africa).

This is the first time South Africa will host this internatio­nal event. It is also coming to Africa for the first-time, courtesy of South African social impact enterprise LifeCo UnLtd SA, in partnership with a social entrepreneurship academy.

Including Lefera, South Africa will have 11 representatives at the five-day occasion.

Lefera says she was optimistic she will make the requirements.

“I read the requirements and I saw that I meet them.

“Participating in Gess will be beneficial in my entrepreneurship aspiration to enhance my knowledge and skills on entrepreneurship. It will also be beneficial to the CUT community at large as I will be sharing knowledge gained from Gess with other students. I knew about Gess through CUT and the institution is sponsoring my travel logistics to the global event,” says Lefera.

Candidates were requested to motivate why they should participate at Gess, describe the biggest problem regarding consumption in their respective countries and offer a solution on what would be the best way to solve it. They had to include details of their curriculum activities and social engagement efforts.

The selection panel consi­dered young people who think and act entrepreneurially, who are strong team players, open-minded and interested in working in international and interdisciplinary teams.

Lefera was found to be suitable, given her active involvement in entrepreneurship for which she has received some recognition.

Her latest is the 2018 Enactus SA Faculty Advisor of the Year accolade.

Other feathers in her cap include the 2016 awarded Enactus SA Junior Alumnus of the Year, the best student representative council member, 2012-’13 CUT vice-chancellor leadership awards and the 2012 best student in community services at the CUT vice-chancellor leadership.

Lefera currently serves as the Enactus CUT co-faculty advisor and renders her support to various initiatives on the CUT campus.

She is also pursuing her MTech in Human Resources Management.

Carmen di Rito, LifeCo’s chief development officer, said amongst some of the solutions suggested from the application motivations were the tightening of environmental tax laws, the manufacturing of grey water systems and the use of artificial intelligence to work out the rate of consumption of energy resources.

“The initiative is founded on the belief in the power of entrepreneurial thinking for a better and sustainable future.

“The quality of submissions from the university applicants was very encouraging with irresponsible use of natural resources high on the list of targeted problems for which the Gess participants will seek to find innovative and entrepreneurial solutions,” says Di Rito.

“I read the requirements and I saw that I meet them. Participating in Gess will be beneficial in my entrepreneurship aspiration to enhance my knowledge and skills on entrepreneurship. It will also be beneficial to the CUT community at large as I will be sharing knowledge gained from Gess with other students.