SA: Univen financial wing takes off

University of VendaBy – SAnews.gov.za

Thohoyandou – The University of Venda (Univen) has become the first historically black university in South Africa to establish a commercial wing to tackle its financial challenges.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on Friday officially unveiled the Univen Innovative Growth Company (UIGC) at an event held in Thohoyandou, Limpopo.

“In order for universities to provide quality teaching, learning, research and community engagement, universities are encouraged to establish creative means of generating extra income. The establishment of this company is to ensure that Univen has practical and sustainable means of generating extra income.

“At the end of each financial year, the company will be expected to give 10% of its revenue to the university. Such money will be used entirely to benefit students,” said the Minister.

She commended the university for taking the charge in educating both the young and old. She praised the role they play in driving social transformation.

“Around the world, higher education institutions have often been at the forefront of helping to build new institutions of civil society, instilling new cultural values and training and integrating members into new social [ranks].

“Their most explicit role can be seen in the production of highly educated, skilled and knowledgeable citizens, that are able to meet the changing socio-economic needs of a country that is undergoing a significant developmental change,” she said.

Over the years, Univen has played a significant role in the social transformation and social cohesion of the country. It has produced some of the most influential and inspirational leaders, who have helped to shape its present and future direction.

The current alumni of the university boasts some of the country’s most distinguished and well-known names in the field of politics, industry and social transformation including Limpopo Public Works MEC, Jerry Ndou, Jayson Ngobeni, Professor Azwindini Muronga and Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela.

Minister Muthambi is also an alumnus of this institution.

With regard to universities playing an instrumental role in the modernisation of society and becoming the drivers of social change, Minister Muthambi said: “Our universities have an autonomous role to play. [They are] able to question the current ways of thinking and approaches to solving problems…

“In order to effectively contribute to achieving real and lasting social transformation in rural areas, it is imperative that students at university are taught and encouraged to maximise the opportunity to learn and develop critical skills that will maximise their career and employment opportunities.”

Universities like Univen have a direct and influential role to play in providing the necessary support mechanisms required to realise the strategic objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP), New Growth Path (NGP) and Human Resources Development Strategy (HRDS).

Chairperson of the UIGC Board, Patjane Moloisane, said since its inception in 2009, they have taken the route of skilling and re-skilling the people of Vhembe District.

“We are committed to contributing to skills development for South Africa and beyond, as well as to be a sustainable third stream income for Univen.

“We will continue to offer critical client based services through short skills programmes, consultancy and commercial ventures in a financially viable and sustainable manner in pursuance of the university’s strategic objectives,” he said.

UIGC is a company solely owned and operated by Univen and has a robust database of professional consultants and trainers, who provide quality services at competitive rates.