Welcome to Regional and Local Economic Development Initiative

Building Capacity for LED

Local Economic Development (LED) has been practiced globally by the state and communities as a response to locality-specific development problems. LED can provide a flexible and an effective approach to enhance economic growth and reduce poverty.

In KwaZulu-Natal, and in South Africa more broadly, there is a need to build the capabilities of those involved in development and transformation to improve the success of LED interventions.

After a successful pilot programme funded by Gijima KZN, The Regional and Local Economic Development Initiative was launched early in 2012. The initiative is fully funded and supported by the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) and has an academic home at the Graduate School of Business and Leadership on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus.

The initiative includes a coordinated and integrated programme of teaching, learning and applied research in LED. The main aim of the Programme is to overcome current gaps in capacity for LED in KwaZulu-Natal.

Programme Aims:

  • To promote LED research and learning
  • To build critical thinking in relation to LED
  • Continuing professional development
  • The creation of a professional network of LED graduates
  • To strengthen the implementation practice of LED institutions


The GSB&L at the UKZN, in partnership with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, invites all local chambers of commerce, local government, students and alumni of the Regional and Local Economic Development Initiative to nominate Regional and Local Economic Development Champions for the 2018 programme. Interested individuals may nominate themselves if they believe they are worthy Champions.

Who are potential Champions?

Potential Champions are active social entrepreneurs whose enterprise are making impact in their communities.

What will the Championship programme offer?

The Champions Programme is a development intervention that is designed to capacitate social entrepreneurs to scale their impact. It will offer the following:

-Opportunity to work with fellow Local Economic Development (LED) practitioners.

Participation in a series of work integrated learning to develop their organizations / ideas into sustainable enterprises over a nine-month period. This will include workshops on personal growth and development, human centred design thinking, innovation, entrepreneurship, legal structures, financial management, marketing, human resources, business incubation, integrated supply chain management and assessing and measuring performance of the enterprise.

Successful candidates may be funded for this programme. Funding includes accommodation, fees and course materials.

When does the programme run?

The Champions Programme runs as a block release programme in 2-day blocks scheduled from February to December 2018

How to apply?

  • Interested candidates should submit the following documents:
  • CV
  • Certified copy of ID.

A supporting letter from a credible organization in your community, for example, the LED Officer of your Local Municipality, Local Business Chamber or similar organization.


  • Matric certificate.
  • Fluency in English.
  • An existing enterprise

Deadline for nominations: 30 November 2017

For Submissions and Enquiries

Email: Rledi@ukzn.ac.za | Tel: (031) 260 8397

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Contact Info

Westville Campus

Phone: 031 260 8670 
E-mail: rledi@ukzn.ac.za