The Alpha Project Bursary: for students by students

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Prof Owen Skae, Director of the Rhodes Business School
Prof Owen Skae, Director of the Rhodes Business School

This year will be the first year that the Alpha Project Bursary, started by Rhodes University Postgraduate Diploma in Enterprise Management (PDEM) students, will be offered to Rhodes University Business School students.

The Bursary is the result of a 2017’s PDEM students project group, who set out to demonstrate their entrepreneurial leadership skills by raising funds for future PDEM students. The Business School provides bursaries to students who have academic merit, but need financial assistance.

In 2018, R35 000 was generated through contributions from several businesses and individuals, including Professor Owen Skae, Director of the Rhodes University Business School. Another R7 000 was made available as a top-up amount by the University – an initiative led by Professor Skae as part of the Business School’s pledge to donate 1% of all short course income to the Isivivane Fund.

The Business School has a large portfolio of short courses which are presented to what Evert Knoesen, Senior Lecturer at the Rhodes Business School, calls a “highly competitive market” of external clients. These portfolios add a significant amount of workload to the Business School staff, who often work on these portfolios outside of Grahamstown. Yet for them, the results of their work are enough. Knoesen explains that the 1% that has been pledged will ensure that the bursary is sustained.

The rules of the campaign stipulates that any money generated is to be donated via the Isivivane Fund. Isivivane’s goal is to “secure sufficient funding from the community of Rhodes and beyond to ensure no academically-capable but financially-needy student is refused entry to Rhodes University.”

This is the first year that the Rhodes Business School has offered this bursary. The total R42 000 that was raised was split evenly between seven students, with each receiving R6 000