Evaluating the role of innovation hubs to promote entrepreneurship: a case of University of KwaZulu-Natal InQubate.
Mulaudzi, Mukhethwa Christinah.
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The business economy is in a disruptive era whereby change can be affected in a matter of seconds to achieve business growth and development. Therefore, this study focused on exploring the use of innovation hubs to disrupt entrepreneurial conventions through UKZN innovation hub. The sample of the study comprised of 50 student entrepreneurs of all sexes, age groups, education status and socio-economic status. A questionnaire was chosen as the best suited tool for an exploratory study. The results of the study showed a statistical significance between student development and the UKZN innovation hub, equipping student entrepreneurs for the business challenges and gearing them for business leadership. The results revealed the innovation hubs as a key component in developing small businesses for economic grow and through that, the alleviation of unemployment and poverty. However, there are shortcomings in line with the provision of entrepreneurial guidance from academic staff. student entrepreneurs also noted that there is a lack of fundamental support at the initial stages of their businesses, were issues of business registration and provision of equipmentand machinery lacked. This study recommends that universities with innovation hub programme must contribute to the economic status of South Africa, by; Intensifying entrepreneurship education by including entrepreneurship in their curriculum programme; make entrepreneurship programme through the innovation hubs more attractive and practical and provide more financial support to student entrepreneurs. Using innovation hubs has proven to be an effective mechanism to develop student entrepreneurs. This will in turn improve our economic status through job creation and the reduction of poverty.