click here >>>

Eligible staff please register here >>>

click here >>>

Thursday, 29 April 2021

“The Next Big Thing” launched at CPUT

PIONEER: Dr Michael Twum-Darko, Head of Business Incubation and Innovation Centre and the Acting Head of the Graduate Centre for Management, outlines several innovative projects under his supervision that are being undertaken by postgraduate students in the Centre during the launch of “The Next Big Thing” project. PIONEER: Dr Michael Twum-Darko, Head of Business Incubation and Innovation Centre and the Acting Head of the Graduate Centre for Management, outlines several innovative projects under his supervision that are being undertaken by postgraduate students in the Centre during the launch of “The Next Big Thing” project.

On Thursday CPUT launched a project that seeks to tackle the country’s unemployment problem head on.

“The Next Big Thing” is a project initiated by Caring4Hope, a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO), to develop 2 000 South African young entrepreneurs a year for the next three years at a cost of R15 million per annum.

The Graduate Centre for Management’s Business Incubation and Innovation Centre (BIIC) was identified by Caring4Hope as one of the incubators to partner with it.

The BIIC as an academic incubator to actualise the vision of smartness conceived by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo, as a measure which sets CPUT apart from our counterparts, and tells the story of how the university is grappling with the phenomenal opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The scope of the three-year collaborative agreement between CPUT and the NPO is for the BIIC to provide theoretical training for entrepreneurial skills development in the form of online coaching and mentoring of selected youth across the country.

During the launch Dr Michael Twum-Darko, Head of BIIC and the Acting Head of the Graduate Centre for Management, said that in order to remain relevant and enable emerging thinkers to pursue surer pathways to success, the BIIC introduces a campus space where students can connect to fellow entrepreneurs and interested financiers.

Darko added that academic incubators are distinct academic ecosystems with inquisitive entrepreneurs and that postgraduate students seeking connections to the marketplace can use the BIIC to create enterprises or to become employable.

He cited several innovative projects under his supervision that are being undertaken by postgraduate students in the BIIC such as the Application of Machine Learning in managing diseases in pig farming and the Application of big data analytics to improve students’ performance, among others

The fully-fledged centre on the 4th Floor in the Engineering Building state of the art equipment to the value of R426 460.

Prof Judy Peter, Director: Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, said Universities of Technology have a responsibility to respond to the vocational demands of a market-driven economy and that they continue to add value to the notion of redress in “post-colonial and # fees must fall era”.

Peter added that The Next Best Thing project promises to ensure successful start-ups, products, and business opportunities that reflect the underlying principles of CPUT’s Vision 2030 to establish SMART universities.

Rodrigue Mounguengui, CEO and Founder of “The Next Big Thing” said that to deliver on the aspirations of the project Caring4Hope had teamed up with CPUT, Google and The Barleader TV.

“It’s not about the size of your pocket but the size of your mind,” added Mounguengui.

The CPUT alumnus said Google’s role of creating business profiles for the selected entrepreneurs for free was crucial and that the TV production company will produce reality shows about entrepreneurship to inspire communities.

Mounguengui, who completed a Masters in Business Administration degree at Stellenbosch University in 2020, said that the project will organise a Business Summit where industry captains from the public and private sectors as well as academic and commercial institutions will be invited to discuss why the billions of rand which were poured onto South Africa’s small businesses for decades have not yielded jobs.  

Prof Renitha Rampersad, Assistant Dean: Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, said the project augurs well with the Faculty’s research trajectory and congratulated Darko for his foresight.

Written by Kwanele Butana

Email: butanak@cput.ac.za