International expertise to boost local entrepreneurship

Collaboration between South Africa’s biggest university of technology, TUT, and Finish based Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences, is bound to boost and change the face of local entrepreneurship forever. The launch of a collaborative project in entrepreneurial and start-up activities took place on 27 November 2017 in Helsinki, Finland.
​​A Memorandum of Agreement signed between the two institutions will guide the rollout of the project, which is among the first of its kind in Finland. Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences and TUT will collaborate, among other things, in the development of education supporting entrepreneurial skills, teacher exchange and R&D projects.

“We wanted to launch this collaboration with Haaga Helia because of our appreciation for the university’s know-how in start-up activities and entrepreneurial education. Moreover, we respect the way in which Haaga Helia collaborates with local businesses. We are on the same page in relation to how teaching and learning should be developed,” says Prof Stanley Mukhola, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching, Learning and Technology at TUT.

The lauch project at TUT will start as training for students to instil an entrepreneur mind-set with them, in line with the University’s credo.  

“This collaboration is a new way of exploring the opportunities in education export. We are still figuring out the practical steps, but our goal is to bring our dynamic and innovative start-up knowledge to South Africa. The Haaga Helia StartUp School supports those students who are interested in entrepreneurship and will help them launch their own businesses,” says Hannele Mennala, Head of StartUp School at Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences. 

The StartUp School has so far produced over 100 new companies founded by its students. 

Dr Edgar Nesamvuni, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, who will be the custodian of the new project, adds, “This development comes at jsut the right time for TUT. The Faculty, through the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, is currently developing a new programme in entrepreneurship. The way in which this programme is offered, will be aligned with new trends that willl positively impact the outcomes expected from the students.  The idea is that all this will culminate into the incubation of possible StartUp businesses in future.”

He adds that 2018 will be a preparation year. ”We foresee that the new programme in Entrepreneurship will be implemented in 2019, but at the latest in 2020. Although the prpgramme will initially be rolled out in the Faculty of Management Sciences, some modules will be open to all students at other faculties.  The long-term aim is to instil an entrepreneur mind-set in all students.”

“The Finnish higher education system is one of the best in the world. Finland is known for its high quality, higher education and innovative start-up activities, the Slush start-up event is one such an example. The cornerstone of high-quality education at universities of applied sciences lies within RDI activities where schools work together with local businesses,” says Program Director for the Education Finland growth program, Lauri Tuomi. 

The Ministry of Education and Culture organises and funds Education Finland. 

The Tshwane University of Technology TUT is the biggest university of technology in South Africa and offers education for over 60 000 students annually. The university has seven faculties on nine campuses.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Willa de Ruyter on tel: 012 382 5352 or send an email to