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Empowering future innovators: Wits Business School receives iconic building in Johannesburg CBD from Anglo American 

Mr Duncan Wanblad, CEO of Anglo American and Professor Maurice Radebe, Head and Director of Wits Business School

Wits University and Wits Business School (WBS) recently became the official owners of one of Anglo American’s buildings at its former campus in the Johannesburg central business district (CBD). At a special handover ceremony attended by top leadership from both organisations and other stakeholders in the initiative, the University outlined its vision of what is to become a Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) and New Venture Creation, to be known as the Wits Crucible.

The aim is to repurpose the eight-story building at 47 Main Street to provide crucial business education, business incubation, and business acceleration services for youth and entrepreneurs in the Johannesburg inner-city, bridging the gap between academic learning and real-world entrepreneurial experience. 

For Wits Business School, the CfE is a major step towards achieving its strategic vision of having a positive impact on all its stakeholders and broader society.  

Professor Maurice Radebe, Head and Director of WBS said: “As a leading African business school, we are honoured to collaborate with stakeholders like Anglo American to fuel Johannesburg’s renewal. The CfE embodies the power of partnerships to enable young entrepreneurs to turn their innovative ideas into thriving businesses and to unleash the potential of small businesses to drive economic growth not only in Johannesburg but in other inner cities and townships throughout South Africa.”

The Wits Crucible will provide four key units of entrepreneurship development support for youth, student entrepreneurs and Wits graduates. These will include a Development Unit to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills to ideate, launch and grow a successful business. The Crucible will also include a Venture Screening and Selection Unit which will focus on the feasibility of business ideas to drive innovation and digital technology integration. It will also boast an Incubation Unit for selected business ventures and an Acceleration Unit to offer intensive growth support to top performing ventures. 

Nolitha Fakude, chairperson of the Anglo American management board in South Africa, said: “We’ve always been dedicated towards contributing a positive legacy wherever we are, and so making sure that our much-loved historic campus in the CBD is repurposed to provide long-lasting contribution to the vibrancy and sustainability of the city was always part of our vision. Through our close collaboration with several passionate public and private sector partners, we are contributing toward the rejuvenation of the city. Seeing our buildings find new purpose in the hands of exemplary partners like Wits not only proves the power of partnerships, but also supports South Africa’s national imperatives – education and job creation through entrepreneurship and will set up a whole new generation of young people for success.”

Commenting on the significance of the handover of 47 Main, Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Vice-Chancellor of Wits University, said: “Our partnership with Anglo American has endured for over a century and it is based on a shared commitment to education, innovation, and the advancement of society. Today, as we stand on the threshold of a new chapter in our collaboration, we are reminded of the transformative power that comes from joining forces with visionary partners like Anglo American.”