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Friday, 11 October 2019

From a build-your-own skincare product to a delivery service for students run by students, aspiring entrepreneurs from the University of Cape Town’s Genesis Project established their businesses, as part of the Honours-level Postgraduate Diploma in Management in Entrepreneurship (PDE).  

“Our vision was to revolutionise skincare by providing our customers with an opportunity they have never had before – to customise their skincare products according to their unique skin type and needs,” said BYO Skin Co-Founder and UCT student entrepreneur, Mufaro Chiwara. “With support from Dr Rael Futerman at the UCT Design School, we were able to innovate a unique skincare solution, never before seen in South Africa.”

“With an ever-increasing number of graduates in South Africa unable to find jobs, it is important for universities to focus more on strategies that develop and deliver job creators rather than job seekers!” says Stuart Hendry, Lecturer and Convenor of the UCT Genesis Project. “Students who survive Genesis and graduate from UCT with a PDE know that they have what it takes to start their own business.”

Local web hosting company,, partnered with the students to provide them with the tools they needed to get online, including a unique domain name and an SSL certificate to secure their website. 1-grid also provided students with access to a state of the art website builder, enabling them to customise and update their websites according to their business needs. With an ever-increasing percentage of consumers using the internet to find local businesses, an online presence is crucial for startups. “We wanted to provide the students with the necessary support to grow their businesses,” says’s Craig Fester, who helped the students build their websites. “Young people make great entrepreneurs because they can approach old problems in new and innovative ways. However, they often lack the experience and resources needed to get online – this is where we could help to give the students a step-up.”

“On top of meeting our substantial academic requirements, we had to face all the usual challenges of starting a business,” said Pigeon Couriers Co-Founder and UCT student entrepreneur, Robert Tsiliyiannis.  “We had to network our class to put together a team, develop an innovative solution to a real-world problem, raise our startup capital, produce our platform locally and drive it into the market by building trust with actual customers in order to hit our sales targets.”

Other businesses created as part of the 2019 Genesis cohort include Outpost and Trove Clothing. Outpost is a social impact platform that aims to connect consumers with previously disadvantaged service providers and in so doing, reduce unemployment by bridging the gap between SA townships and mainstream markets. Trove Clothing is an environmentally-conscious fashion platform aiming to spark a new generation of sustainable shoppers in South Africa, by creating ever-increasing online market-place allowing customers to upload and sell pre-loved clothing.

Visit the UCT Genesis startup websites here:


Story By : Stuart Hendry