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VLIR-UOS projects at the Belgian State Visit to South Africa (March 2023)

We were so grateful for the opportunity to have our partners showcase their projects on social entrepreneurship during the Belgian State Visit to South Africa in March 2023.

In the presence of H.M. the Queen, four researchers from our VLIR-UOS community presented their research during the seminar 'Strengthening social entrepreneurship as a model for change and the corresponding role of universities', adding to a very inspiring roundtable discussion on the contribution of academic knowledge to social entrepreneurship.

We are quite proud of the Ted Talk-style presentations made by our partners, which is why we really couldn't withhold them from you! 


Student Entrepreneurship Support - Dr R. Ismail (Nelson Mandela University)

Youth unemployment and unemployment among university graduates are high in South Africa. To address this issue, research was conducted on the support available to student entrepreneurs at South African public universities, identifying best practices and creating an assessment tool that can help these universities improve their support and better mitigate unemployment. This project is presented by Dr Riyaad Ismail.


Strengthening the academic eco-system for social entrepreneurship as a catalyst to job creation and social and economic change - Dr A. Bignotti (University of Pretoria)

The second TED talk features Dr. Alex Bignotti who presents their project that aimed to develop social entrepreneurship in South Africa and Africa by creating a curriculum and resources, organising research workshops, and providing training through workshops and webinars. The project also resulted in the creation of the African Network of Social Entrepreneurship Scholars (ANSES), a community of over 240 members.


Economic Empowerment through Cultural Inclusion in Stellenbosch (South Africa) - prof. Bert Willems (PXL University college Hasselt and Hasselt University)

In this video, Professor Bert Willems presents a project that aims to promote talented South African artists from deprived communities in the Stellenbosch region by developing a methodology for cultural empowerment through academic strengthening. This project also aims to contribute to the broader mission of decolonising and southernising knowledge in South Africa.


Understanding the unemployment experience in South Africa in order to develop an evidence-based intervention together with the local community - prof. Ian Rothmann (North-West University)

The last video is presented by Professor Ian Rothmann. This project aimed to empower unemployed youth by mapping the psychological experience of being unemployed on one hand and by improving their psychological functioning through a training program on the other hand.