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Wednesday, 01 March 2017

Driving entrepreneurship in higher education

CPUT has been selected to participate in an international project that will help universities conceptualize an entrepreneurial vision and implement it in order to benefit all spheres of South Africa.

EMISha, short for Entrepreneurship, Modernization and Innovation in South Africa, is funded by the European Union and forms part of the Erasmus+ Key Action 2: Capacity Building in Higher Education programme. The project is one of six Erasmus + Capacity Building projects in which CPUT is currently actively involved in. Partners in the various projects include higher education institutions and organizations from Europe and South Africa.

Business Manager at the Technology Transfer Office, Chris Lombard, who is a key participant in EMISha, says the vision of the project is to “co-create holistically relevant universities through innovation and entrepreneurship,” with the objective to “embed entrepreneurial thinking in South African universities for the benefit of society.”

Universities must not be viewed as institutions that only produce graduates but must be relevant to society by playing a role in enterprise creation, poverty alleviation and the development of the South African economy, says Lombard.

“Entrepreneurship must become a systematic part of how we do business. This will help us fulfill our role in South Africa.”

Lombard says while there are various entrepreneurial related initiatives running across CPUT departments and units, the project will look at pulling all role-players together with the objective to create an institutional entrepreneurial vision.

“The focus is on a culture change in CPUT towards entrepreneurial thinking.”

For example, Lombard says graduates should not merely be job seekers, but should have the mindset of a “job creator,” while research must be relevant to society, addressing pertinent issues.

The project also compliments CPUT’s Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI) Blueprint, a strategic policy document that guides CPUT’s research and innovation activities. The RTI blueprint advocates the production of research and innovation that is relevant and aligned to the needs of the province, the country, the continent and the world through knowledge discovery, excellence in teaching, and service.

The EMISha project is set to run over a two year period and will entail workshops, as well as staff site visits to the various participating European institutions.

Written by Candes Keating

Tel: +27 21 959 6311
Email: keatingc@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and Applied Sciences Faculties; the Bellville and Wellington Campuses, and research and innovation news.