by Staff repoerter

Combined operations

UIGC propels the University of Venda into a prosperous future

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 The Univen Innovative Growth Company (UIGC ) was established in 2010. The Council of the University of Venda had realized that the cost of running an institution such as a university is prohibitive. In addition, the decline in funding from government and the impact of the recent #FeesMustFall phenomenon makes it imperative for universities in South Africa to find ways and means through which they can raise extra income. In the parlance of higher education, an entity of this nature is referred to as a Third Stream Income.

Effectively, UIGC functions as a private company wholly owned by the University of Venda. As sole shareholder, the university has the right to appoint the Board of Directors, who then appoint the company management.

Public universities in South Africa are not allowed by law to generate profit despite the financial challenges most of them are faced with. UIGC is therefore the vehicle which makes it possible for the university to generate extra revenue which will in turn be used for the advancement of the university’s strategic objectives.

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

In order to achieve its founding principles, UIGC has established a number of subsidiaries, namely: UIGC Travel PTY Ltd; UIGC GarCle PTY Ltd; UIGC Securities PTY Ltd and UIGC Tshakhuma Barotta Farm PTY Ltd. The company is also investing in mining and property development, including a 50% stake in a coal processing plant in Mooifontein and a 40% stake in a R1.4b property development. Currently among the biggest revenue spinners is the training division, which has attracted funding from both government and the private sector.

These ventures also double as training fields for university students in a bid to appoint local people as a way to improve local skills in travel, security, landscaping, commercial farming, mining, and hospitality.

Going forward, inter-entity operations will be streamlined by the implementation of Smart Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to ensure that all entities are jointly linked and can be accessed easily. This will afford UIGC management proper control, allowing company activities such as human resources and general coordination to flow.

UIGC Travel

The agency was established after the realisation that the University was spending millions on outsourcing this function and the fact that the Vhembe lacks a reputable travel agency. UIGC Travel was created to fulfil this function and support the training provided by the department of Tourism and Hospitality, which is now using the agency as a training field. Currently the company has its biggest contract from the Vhembe District Municipality.

The agency offers the following services: flight bookings; accommodation bookings; visa applications and car rentals including tour guides

UIGC Securities

The prohibitive cost of outsourcing security and again the lack of a reputable security company in Vhembe led to the establishment of UIGC Securities. Now the company offers alternative security services to the university and to South Africa as a whole. While the university is its biggest client, the company is busy competing for work outside. The company also offers a solution to the insourcing challenges facing this and any other university.

The company offers security guards with or without guns depending on the needs of the client.


Not only are cleaning and landscaping notoriously expensive services to outsource, but the Vhembe region also had no formidable cleaning and landscaping service provider. The company was established in recognition of these facts. In addition, it supports the training provided by the department of Horticultural Sciences, which is using the agency as a training field. With UNIVEN as its biggest client, the company is looking for more work throughout the land.

UIGC Tshakhuma Farm

The company was established after realizing that agriculture has the potential to be the biggest money-spinner in the area. The company is co-owned by UIGC and the Tshakhuma Community Trust with UIGC owning 45%. The more than 200-hectare commercial farm produces mainly macadamia nuts, avocados and bananas.

The farm is also used as a training area for the students who are studying agriculture at the university.


UIGC and Lwenzhe Investment have partnered to establish a coal processing plant. UIGC owns 50%. The intention is to clean coal from the local coal mines in Mpumalanga. The investment will also sell a particular class of coal to international clients mainly. The mining project is also going to be used by geology and mining engineering students for field learning.

Property development

This investment was made towards the establishment of student accommodation facilities comprising 5000 beds, a staff compound comprising 100 units, and a three-star hotel which can accommodate 300 delegates or guests. It is envisaged that students from the Tourism and Hospitality department will also use the facility as part of their training. The company is owned by Andani Holdings (40%), Glad Africa (20%) and UIGC (40%). Apart from being co-owner, UIGC will also be tasked with the responsibility of managing the entire facility.


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