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Diploma in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations

The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE)

The IIE Diploma in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations, is a three-year qualification for both school leavers and working professionals interested in studying the complexities of managing entrepreneurial and small businesses. There is a strong focus on application of skills and knowledge to start and manage sustainable entrepreneurial and small businesses as well as effective management within existing businesses.

This undergraduate qualification will enhance the skills set of school leavers as well as working professionals within private and government entities. The expansion of economies around the world, especially through entrepreneurship in all sectors, call for a focused and an increased training in entrepreneurship and enterprise development. In addition, the ever-changing economic conditions around the globe, makes it imperative for all individual citizens to have skills that can move nations forward. Economics around the world (both developed and developing) not only need more entrepreneurs, they need better entrepreneurs.

When completing this programme you will engage with several areas relating to entrepreneurship and small business operations including marketing, human resource management, project management, logistics and supply chain management, economics, law, leadership, communications etc. The diploma prepares you for entrepreneurship and various roles within a business across the corporate, governmental and non-profit sectors.

What is this Diploma’s accreditation status?

The IIE Diploma in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations (DESBO) is accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and is registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as a 360-credit qualification on level 6 (SAQA ID: 97818).

Who is the Diploma aimed at?

If you are looking for an innovative introduction into the world of business, then this qualification is for you. If you are interested in being an entrepreneur and managing your own business, then choose this qualification. This Diploma equips students with core business principles and entrepreneurial skills to be able to work in and manage a small to medium size enterprise. Students not only acquire essential skills intended to enhance their own careers, they are also taught how to make a meaningful contribution to the strategic growth of any business or to one day manage their own business enterprises.

What entry requirements will I need to study this Diploma?

To be registered you must have satisfied the admission requirements as set out in the following links:

How is this Diploma structured at The IIE MSA?

The Diploma in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations is run over three years and consists of 24 modules including Work-Integrated Learning and the Work Readiness Programme. The academic year runs from February to November. The modules are delivered on a full-time basis with lectures Monday to Friday in the late afternoon and early evening. In addition to attending lectures you will be expected to spend time conducting your own research and working on assignments.

Please note that in line with academic practice, The IIE’s curriculum is reviewed annually thus changes may occur in module structure and sequence in order to ensure that the qualification remains relevant. The exit level outcomes of the programme do not change. Registered students receive an updated programme curriculum on an annual basis.

What about timetables?

Our full-time programmes are aimed at students wishing to dedicate themselves to full-time face-to-face studies for the duration of their qualification. This means that students are expected to be available throughout the day for class in the academic year depending on how the timetable is structured. At the moment the classes are all structured in the late afternoon and early evening. Students may also be required to write assessments or submit coursework or assignments outside of normal class-time.

Students must understand that timetables remain subject to change throughout the year. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that timetable structures will remain the same during each year of your studies with us. In addition, where students are repeating modules, these modules may be offered in the evenings or on weekends. Students are required to attend classes in order to remain up to date with the academic programme. Students who would like to pursue part-time employment opportunities outside of the academic programme must prioritise their studies and avoid committing to work schedules until after they have received their timetables and academic calendar from the institution.

Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

You will be provided with an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding in a simulated work environment.

What must I pass in order to graduate with this Diploma?

In order to be awarded this qualification, you must have achieved a minimum final year mark of fifty percent (50%) for each module of the programme; and have met all the Work Integrated Learning requirements, where applicable.

How long do I have to complete this qualification?

Students have a maximum of 6 years to complete this qualification.

With what qualification will I graduate?

You will graduate with The IIE Diploma in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations (SAQA ID:97818).

Career opportunities: what career areas can I pursue once I have completed this Diploma?

This qualification will open up an attractive range of career options; this qualification is a perfect stepping-stone to a diverse and exciting range of career opportunities.

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Franchise Management
  • Small Business Management

What are the future study opportunities once I have completed The IIE Diploma in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations?

The IIE Diploma in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations is accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and is registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) at level 6 – the same level as other equivalent undergraduate diplomas at both private and public South African institutes of higher education. After completing this Diploma students can proceed to an Advanced Diploma and, thereafter a Postgraduate Diploma, which can be followed by a Master’s Degree. In addition, students can also apply for a Bachelor Degree after completing the Diploma in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations.

It is important to remember that your academic results remain a key factor when applying for further studies.

Call the IIE MSA campus to discuss your career options with one of our Student Advisors. Tel: +27 11 950 4009 or email

Disclaimer: Please note that this fact sheet is accurate at the time of publication. The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) reserves the right to alter any of the content prior to commencement of registration due to changes in regulation, policy, market requirements or any other valid reason.

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British Accreditation Council 

The IIE is not only accredited in South Africa but its dedication to providing quality education also led to it being accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC) in 2014. The British Accreditation Council is an independent authority in the United Kingdom that accredits private providers globally, including Greece, Switzerland, Singapore, India, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. In 2017 The IIE had its accreditation status confirmed by the BAC as an Independent Higher Education Institution confirming our confidence in the international comparability of our standards.

“South African students need to know, when they select a private higher education institution, that the standards offered are equivalent to those of a public University. Our students get this from our extensive local accreditation and registration. The students also benefit from knowing that we meet international standards too. The IIE is accredited as an Independent Higher Education Institution by the British Accreditation Council. Locally and internationally we have demonstrated the quality of what we offer,” said Dr Coughlan, Director, The Independent Institute of Education. IIE MSA students can be confident that their IIE learning experience meets international best practice standards.”