Rhodes University student scoops best innovative idea award

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Best innovative idea award winner, Penang Shirindza and his mentor, Ross Marriner, a former Rhodes University Registrar of Finance and Operations.
Best innovative idea award winner, Penang Shirindza and his mentor, Ross Marriner, a former Rhodes University Registrar of Finance and Operations.

Young minds converged at the Southern Sun Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport, last week (18th-19th Sept) to compete in the 1st National Intervarsity Studentpreurship Challenge. Rhodes University, through Urban Play as winners of the Eastern Cape Regionals, presented an innovative idea at the National Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Finals. Urban Play is a business idea conceptualised by Rhodes University’s third year BCom student in Economics and Information Systems, Penang Shirindza, who won the first prize in the best innovative idea category for his digital advertising company, Urban Play. Penang, an Allan Gray Fellow, has been under the mentorship of a Certified Financial Planner, Ross Marriner from PSG Wealth. .

Penang was one of the 26 finalists who at their respective institutional and regional competitions. In total, 15 universities were represented in the final round of the Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Competition 2019. Explaining the rationale behind the competition, Department of Higher Education’s University Education Deputy Director General, Dr Dianne Parker said: “We created the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education platform with Universities South Africa to produce studentpreneurs– the movers and shakers who will create jobs in the South African economy for the next 10-20 years and lead this country to the socio-economic development stage that we need.”

The 22-year-old’s business idea responds to the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) and provides in-transit digital advertising. “I want to be at the forefront of the 4IR in terms of digital synergy and digital advertising. I am very grateful for this platform introduced by Higher Education and the Allan Gray Foundation. This award shows that there is potential in me and I feel this is only the beginning. I am going to use this as a stepping stone to do even more and grow as an entrepreneur. I want to impact others in society and my community to step out of their shells and become entrepreneurs,” he explained.

A Rhodes University alumni and former Registrar of Finance and Operations at the institution, Ross Marriner, congratulated Penang and expressed how proud he was of him. “This is what Penang does best. He went out and showcased what he is about and I am humbled to be linked to a person like him who is going places.  It’s a fantastic gift be able to employ other people and help them to develop. The government is already employing far too many people and we are feeling it in the economy. We cannot only depend on being employed, we need entrepreneurs. It is all credit to institutions like Allan Gray coming up with these amazing programmes.”

The three other categories were: Existing Technological Business, Existing Business: Social Impact and Existing General Business. All category winners, including Penang, were awarded trophies and R10 000 in prize money intended to bolster their businesses.