STRONGER TOGETHER - JSE MAGAZINE

STRONGER TOGETHER

Through its subsidiaries, the University of Venda’s Univen Innovative Growth Company is making a tangible difference to the lives of its students as well as surrounding communities

Univen Innovative Growth Company PTY Ltd (UIGC) was established in 2010 after the University of Venda’s council realised that the cost of running an institution such as a university is costly, coupled with the decline in funding from government and, more recently, the #FeesMustFall campaign. It’s important that SA universities find means through which they can raise extra income. In higher education speak, an entity of this nature is referred to as a ‘third-stream income’.

It is anticipated that UIGC will effectively function as a private company, wholly owned by the university. As the only shareholder, the university has the right to appoint a board of directors that will then appoint company management, specifically, the CEO.

Since 2010, this company has undergone remarkable growth. It has given the university the assurance that in the next four years, the learning institution will be in a position to pay for 50% of its enrolment, thereby confirming increased access to higher education and free education in the process. Proceeds from UIGC are transferred to the university at the end of the financial year via the declaration of dividend.

The UIGC’s value statement is as follows: ‘UIGC shall behave at all times with professional integrity and complies with corporate governance principles in a commercially and socially responsible manner in the best interest of its shareholder and clients.’

In order to achieve its founding principles, UIGC established various subsidiaries. The company also invests in mining and property development, where it has a 50% stake in a coal-processing plant in Mooifontein, Mpumalanga, and a 40% stake in a R2.3 billion property development.

Furthermore, UIGC continues to offer clients needs-based training, and it is among the biggest service providers to the SETAs. The training division is one of UIGC’s largest revenue generators, and it attracts funding from both government and the private sector.

UIGC TRAVEL AGENCY
The agency was established following the realisation that the university was spending millions on outsourcing this function, and the fact that in Vhembe, there is no formidable travel agency. UIGC Travel Agency actively participates in the tourism space and was created to support training in the university’s tourism and hospitality department, which uses the agency as a training field.

The company’s biggest client is the Vhembe District Municipality.

The agency is wholly owned by UIGC and offers the following services: flight bookings; accommodation bookings; visa applications; car rentals; and tour guides.

It functions as a training field for university students. What’s more, the company will appoint locals as a way of improving local travel skills.

UIGC SECURITIES
UIGC Securities was set up as the university had spent millions on outsourcing this function. Furthermore, Vhembe does not have a formidable security company. The PSiRA-compliant company provides security services to private clients, including the University of Venda, which is its largest client. UIGC Securities provides security guards – armed or unarmed, depending on the needs of the client. This company will be a training field for university students. It will also appoint local people as a way of improving local skills.

UIGC CLEANING SERVICES
UIGC Cleaning Services was established to prevent the university from spending millions on outsourcing this function, and due to the fact that in Vhembe, there is no formidable cleaning and landscaping service provider.

UIGC Cleaning Services provides landscaping and cleaning services, and it is wholly owned by UIGC. It is also intended to support training in the university’s department of horticultural sciences, which uses the agency as a training field. The university is its biggest client, and it is looking for more work throughout SA.

The company will be a training field for university students. It is also going to appoint local people as a way of improving local skills. The marketing strategy includes print and social media, radio and fliers.

TSHAKHUMA BAROTTA UIGC FARM
This farm is co-owned by UIGC (45%) and the Tshakhuma Community Trust, which includes the local community. This commercial farm covers more than 200 ha of land. It was established after realising that agriculture can be the biggest spinners of revenue in the area. The farm mainly produces macadamia nuts, avocados and bananas.

The farm is also used as a training area for students studying agriculture at the university. It will also appoint local people as a way of improving local skills. The marketing strategy includes print and social media, radio and fliers.

UIGC MINING
This is a 50% investment in a coal-processing plant. The investment is aimed at processing and selling coal from local mines in Mpumalanga for the international client in the main. This company is co-owned by UIGC and Lwenzhe Investment.

The mining project is also going to be used by geology and mining engineering students as part  of the field learning site. It will also appoint local people as a way of improving local skills. The marketing strategy includes print and social
media, radio and fliers.

UIGC PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT
This investment is aimed at facilitating the establishment of student accommodation comprising 5 000 beds; a staff compound comprising 100 units and a 3-star hotel that can accommodate 300 delegates/guests. It’s envisaged that students from the tourism and hospitality department will also use the facility as part of the training. UIGC will be responsible for the management of the facility.

The company is co-owned by Andany Holdings (40%), Glad Africa (20%) and UIGC (40%).

This company will serve as a training field for university students. It will also appoint local people as a way of improving local skills. The marketing strategy includes print and social media, radio and fliers.

A WORD FROM THE CEO…
Following its inception as a pilot project, UIGC has become a huge success. When UIGC CEO John Mudau stepped into his role in 2012, little did he know that he was getting into what would become a university legacy and a beacon of hope for the institution.

With a PhD in development and a strong inclination towards management, backed by a masters degree in management and supervision in addition to an MBA, Mudau found himself at the centre of what is now considered the most precious asset of the university.

‘When I started six years ago, the company had less than 10 staff members. The mandate from the UIGC board was clear – turn around this company and make it profitable. With the support of the current UIGC board of directors, the company now has more than 450 staff members and seven executives,’ says Mudau.

‘As CEO, I am often asked the question, “How did you make this possible?” My response constantly points to the fact that a good team and support from the board is key to success. I have experience of building a team from nothing. To turn a poorly performing company into a multibillion-worth company, for me, is a lived experience, and one that I will always cherish,’ says Mudau.

‘I have grown and developed so immensely as a person since reluctantly taking up this position. I am very privileged to be working with such a highly motivated and committed team.

‘I have also learnt that success is not only about qualifications and experience, but that it is more about commitment. I have seen colleagues who had no relevant qualifications and experience working so tirelessly – and the results are out there for all to see.’

University of Venda
University Road, Thohoyandou, Limpopo, 0950
Private Bag X5050, Thohoyandou, Limpopo, 0950
Tel: +27 (0)15 962 8761/+27 (0)15 962 8754
[email protected]
www.uigc.co.za