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Enactus South Africa (ZA) is proud to be one of the Enactus countries to have hosted the inaugural General Electric (GE) Global Lean Challenge National Competition, alongside three other countries namely Brazil, China and India.

The GE Lean Challenge was initiated following a successful partnership with Enactus in South Africa in 2017 through the General Electric Universities Business Challenge, and the Green Energy Special Competition.

Thirty engineering students from various universities across the country were selected for this opportunity which put them in front of GE’s top Global Talent Managers. The Enactus-General Electric Global Lean Challenge is a unique project-based learning opportunity, where students have mastered the lean and design-thinking concepts, and have engaged with local GE projects – in what was a once in a life-time opportunity for our staff and students to visit not one, but two national key points in the Kendal and Kusile power stations on Thursday the 19th of August.

The Enactus-GE National Competition was held on 10 September 2021 via LaunchPad6 and Microsoft Teams virtual Platforms with three teams competing. The students worked with the GE Lean Team and the Enactus South Africa Staff in developing their projects and documented the impact they will have on GE, their customer, and most importantly, Sustainable Development Goal number 13: Climate Action. The teams presented their solutions in a seven-minute presentation, which focused on the problem statement, methodology and analysis, solution(s), proposed outcome and impact, and last but not least, long-term outcomes and sustainability (key resources, budget/costs, implementation).

During her address, Chief Executive Officer and Country Director for Enactus South Africa, Letitia de Wet said that “Today’s event really embodies what Enactus, globally, is all about… bringing together students, academics and industry leaders, by using the power of entrepreneurial action to drive business and innovation in creating a better, more sustainable world.” She also expressed both GE and Enactus’ desire “to continue to drive sustainable development through commitment to economic inclusion and education in the communities where we live and work.”

“As a company that has paved the way in innovation for more than a century, we remain committed toward bridging the critical STEM skills gap in South Africa. The GE Global Lean Challenge – one of the many skills development initiatives that GE is sponsoring – not only offers a unique opportunity for diverse students to learn new skills needed to address complex challenges but also empowers students to acquire business tools that will enable them to stand out and increase their future employability. We believe the application of lean principles creates a problem-solving culture where problems are embraced, owned, analyzed and resolved”, said Matsiliso Eseu, Country Human Resources Leader for GE South Africa. “These students are our next generation of global problem solvers and we are excited for them to be among the first to represent the African continent as they present their unique insights in front of a panel of GE’s global leaders”, she added.

This event has been a culmination of 5 weeks of rapid learning, unlearning, and relearning of use the LEAN curriculum learnings in their project designs. This is more than just a mere competition – it is an opportunity for Enactus’ students to be seen by GE globally for their respective insights and talent.

The GE mentors observed the participants’ activity very closely, and identified the following students which were rewarded for their outstanding contributions during the program, and each received a R500 cash award:

Group 1: Ms Mercia Pillay, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Electrical Engineering)
Group 2: Deveshen Chetty, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Electrical Engineering)
Group 3: Tshegofatsho Tshehla, North West University (Mechanical Engineering)

The team that got first place in the GE-Enactus Lean Challenge South African National Competition is Group 3 which included students from Central University of Technology, North West University, University of KwaZulu-Natal as well as Vaal University of Technology. This is a multi-disciplinary team, that included Chemical, Civil, Mechatronic, Mechanical and Electric Engineering students. The team won R15 000 and will represent South Africa at the Enactus-GE Global Lean Challenge Final Competition. The global event will be hosted virtually on Wednesday 15th September 2021.

The Award ceremony will be available for public viewing on YouTube and Facebook. In addition to the competition, Enactus will host award ceremonies to recognize teams, students, and supporters. Join us to experience the Enactus – GE Global Lean Challenge online. For more information visit our website:


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Additional commentary and interview opportunities:

The CEO of Enactus South Africa, Letitia de Wet, Board members and representatives of Partner Companies are available for additional commentary and interviews, including for printed media, radio and television. Please contact Lydia Mafatle (Marketing Assistant, Enactus South Africa, on 079 860 6148 or assistantsa@enactus.org to schedule.


Enactus Background:

Enactus South Africa is a registered NPC that was established in 2001 as the South African Chapter of the international non-profit, Enactus. The organization is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, USA.

As the safety and health of everyone in the global network is a priority, many Enactus special, regional and national competitions have gone virtual as a result of the global Coronavirus pandemic. These dynamic, energetic events bring together student, academic and business leaders from the Enactus network for an opportunity to engage, collaborate and learn from one another.

GE South Africa Background:

GE has been operating in South Africa since 1898. Today, GE celebrates over 120 years in the African market, with South Africa being the first overseas office outside the USA which opened in Johannesburg. GE always rises to the challenge of building a world that works through our expertise and innovation in healthcare, aviation and power – contributing to key sectors of South Africa’s economy.

For more information, please visit:

www.ge.com/africa/content/south-africa and follow GE_Africa on LinkedIn

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