Stellenbosch University has received a first dividend cheque as principle shareholder of USB Executive Development (USB-ED), the public executive development company within the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB).
A cheque amounting to R180 000 was handed over by USB-ED CEO, Frik Landman, to Prof Russel Botman, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, today at a function in Stellenbosch to commemorate USB-ED’s maiden dividend after ten years of providing executive education and management development programmes.
Stellenbosch University currently holds an interest of 48% in USB-ED, with black shareholding amounting to 29% and the balance by USB staff.
Prof Botman said this is an important moment for Stellenbosch University and for USB-ED. It proves that the “courageous experiment” of 2001 was successful. It was an “experiment” because at the time virtually no one in the world had created a private company that retained its ties to a public university. And it was “courageous” because there was no guarantee for success. But the right people took the right decision at the right time.
“If we look at issues like poverty, joblessness and the need for economic growth, business executives clearly carry a huge responsibility. The services you provide are in this regard of immense value,” Botman said.
Landman said USB-ED went beyond just a third stream income. The focus or strategic width of the company increased to be more than just offering programmes, but to more serious interventions into organisations to include research, innovation and sharing of knowledge.
“Even the scope or physical width of USB-ED widened and we moved beyond the borders of the Western Cape and South Africa operating in a number of other African countries.
“USB-ED, like the Stellenbosch University, is an institution for humanity. Our endeavour is not to be the best in Africa, but the best for Africa”.
USB-ED was established in 2001 with a business associate, Dr George Lindeque, and leading Stellenbosch University academics Prof Andreas van Wyk and Prof Eon Smit being a major force behind it. In 2005 the company was joined by the current CEO, Frik Landman, and made its first net profit.
Further momentum were gained in 2007 with a BEE deal with Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (WIPHOLD), an investment and operating company owned by black women and dedicated to the empowerment of black women, and Vincent Raseroke from Tumsedi Trust. During this year revenue increased by 32,5% and operating profit by 254%, while the first offices were opened in Gauteng.
In 2008 the company became fully financially independent, while gaining the 45th place in the prestigious Financial Times world ranking in the combined category for open and customised executive programmes. USB-ED also partnered with world renowned Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) during the year.
This was followed the next year by a partnership with the University of Lincoln, the establishment within USB-ED of the Centre for Project Management Intelligence and the Centre for Entrepreneurship. USB-ED’s was further extended in 2011 by the Centre for Business in Society.
This year saw the USB-ED Centre for Project Management Intelligence launching the Business Management of Projects programme against the backdrop of service delivery of local authorities in South Africa remaining problematic. To provide direction and momentum to the programme, the former managing director of Sasol Technology, Willem Louw, recently joined the Centre as an associate.
The USB-ED Centre for Business in Society, focusing on the development of responsible leaders, sustainability business strategies and social capital, was recently responsible for the Barrett Values Centre, an international human and leadership developmental organisation, hosting its international conference in South Africa. This is to be followed in November this year by the Africa Leads conference, an international conference hosted by the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative in conjunction with the USB-ED Centre for Business in Society.
The USB-ED Centre for Entrepreneurship will for the third consecutive year present its gap-year programme to encourage and elucidate entrepreneurial thinking. It is aimed at school-leavers, students who have terminated their studies and young graduates who want to create their own employment opportunities.
The Centre also seeks to provide a conceptual framework for the effective promotion of entrepreneurship and SMMEs in rural and poor communities throughout South Africa. This development process was rolled out in the Cape Winelands during the first months of 2012, with the District Municipality sponsoring training for a group of 90 SMMEs.
USB-ED’s expanding African footprint currently consists of a local presence in Cape Town and Johannesburg (South Africa), Gaborone (Botswana), Nairobi (Kenya), Maseru (Lesotho) and Matsapha (Swaziland). Programmes have recently also been offered in Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.
USB-ED programmes are also presented in conjunction with partners which consists of the world-renowned Center for Creative Leadership based in Brussels, the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion based in Cape Town, EOH Consulting based in Gaborone, the Institute of Development Management in Swaziland, Quirk Education based in Cape Town, the University of Lincoln in the UK, Vlerick Business School in Belgium and Workplace Coaching & Neuroleadership, representing the NeuroLeadership Institute in South Africa.