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Business guru Sir Richard Branson was in South Africa last week to present awards to students at his School of Entrepreneurship.

The Branson School of Entrepreneurship is designed to foster the business ambitions of young black students and aims to provide business degrees to disadvantaged black students unable to afford higher education.

“You can build international empires with small amounts of money,” said Branson, who had to judge a series of business proposals from students at the school. “South Africa has been oppressed for decades.”

The winner of the competition, Sonwabile Mngenela, creates unique ceramics and wants to take his company global.

“The South African economy is dependent on entrepreneurial activity for creating future economic growth and jobs,” Branson told the BBC. “Currently the economic contribution to South Africa’s entrepreneurial sector is below the emerging markets norm, I believe that increasing entrepreneurship in this country is the golden highway to economic freedom.”

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