Genesis: raising businesses to conquer unemployment Genesis: raising businesses to...

Genesis: raising businesses to conquer unemployment


13 Dec, 2022

Every year a group of post-grad students from the University of Cape Town participate in a business startup programme. The Genesis Project aims to equip entrepreneurship students with critical business skills such as raising startup capital, developing prototypes, marketing, and attracting investors. 

Genesis is a gateway for students to transition from lecture hall learning to real-world business entities. The project forms part of UCT’s Honours-level Postgraduate qualification in Entrepreneurship.

At SnapScan, we love small business innovation, which is why we were in full support of this project. Eight student groups were formed at the start of 2022, and Genesis was off to the races again.

Read more: 6 factors you should consider when starting a business

From the classroom to the real world 

Over the last few years, Genesis has produced several small businesses that continue to be a success long after the project ends. Only the top students from thousands of local and international applicants are selected for the programme each year.

During the course of the programme, students learn how to create profitable businesses, with each group starting their business from scratch. Students participate in ideation exercises to determine the kind of business they want to create and eventually build their businesses under the watchful eye of seasoned entrepreneurs.

Although business professionals guide the groups, the students tackle every part of the business by themselves, including raising funds to get their venture off the ground. Genesis is not a simulation exercise but exists to impact the local economy by increasing sustainable small businesses. 

The 2022 groups

A list of groups participating in the Genesis Project

Genesis 2022 gave birth to exciting new business startups. Course convenor, Stuart Hendry, is passionate about the impact of entrepreneurship on unemployment. The theme for this year’s class was “Empowering four million unemployed South African youth to improve their lives in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way”.

The student teams came up with the following business concepts:

Book Bugz gets books into small spaces. Their slim-line hanging fabric shelf is a book display designed to capture book lovers’ attention where space is limited. The solution works in homes and schools. 

e-Kamva seeks to connect participants from various sectors with a network of industry professionals, business owners, decision-makers, and executives in the form of career boot camps. 

Hemp Studios aims to provide sustainable products in their design, function, raw materials, and manufacturing process.

Nass Incorporated is a platform where experienced business owners connect with aspiring entrepreneurs and startups. 

JOVO developed a system that will resolve the grey-water challenge in township areas. 

RentALL is an online marketplace that offers a space to list and rent camping, sporting, or outdoor equipment. Their platform aims to provide an affordable way for the public to utilise the equipment cost-effectively. 

Team New Gen has designed and manufactured a recovery wheelchair to facilitate the recovery of disabled patients and alleviate issues relating to bed pressure sores.

Üna developed Grace, a portable grey-water recycling system to improve water quality and increase water security in the informal sector.

Read more: 11 online business ideas for budding entrepreneurs

The expo

After months of learning and working towards taking their businesses to market, students launched their businesses at an expo attended by industry leaders, venture capitalists and angel investors. SnapScan was a headline sponsor for the expo.

Genesis has fast become a unique platform for addressing South Africa’s unemployment and entrepreneurship issues. The project’s previous success stories are packaged into a book by Stuart Hendry, co-authored with Anthony Hill. The book shares ideas and insights on how to build venture creation programmes similar to the Genesis Project. 

Some images from the expo of UCT's genesis project

Why we love the Genesis Project

Part of our mission is to offer insights and advice to small businesses on how to navigate the various aspects of starting and running a business.

We value being part of the business owners’ journey from startup to success. Partnering with the Genesis Project allowed us the opportunity to fuel vibrant small businesses at the critical incubation stage.

It was also exciting to be so close to the action! We gained invaluable insights into how businesses come about and the challenges they face. This knowledge will help us tailor our products to meet the needs of small businesses. We look forward to similar future experiences. 

Written by

Craig is a Performance Marketer at SnapScan, and enjoys a good 90's mixtape.

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