Initiative zones in on technopreneurial skills development

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Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and mobile media network Snake Nation have partnered with the UK’s Manchester Metropolitan University to introduce an innovation and digital skills development pilot programme.

The initiative, funded by the British Council through its Innovation for African Universities (IAU) project, looks to cultivate digital and entrepreneurial skills among local graduates.

The CPUT, Snake Nation and Manchester Metropolitan University collaboration is one of 24 projects awarded funding support via the IAU project.

In addition, the pilot programme will see CPUT and its partners develop a Business Innovation and Incubation Centre (BIIC).

The planned BIIC aims to improve graduate employability by providing a commercial opportunity for chosen students' entrepreneurial ideas, with integrated digitalisation concepts to be developed into genuine businesses or start-ups.

Dr Michael Twum-Darko, project leader and head of CPUT's BIIC, states: "The emphasis at BIIC is on exploring ideas that create new jobs, by upskilling our graduates to create more employment opportunities or enterprises for themselves, and in turn create employment opportunity for others."

Dre Ngare, COO and head of innovation at Snake Nation, adds: "When we were told about the award and we would be able to roll out the pilot programme with CPUT, I immediately saw it as a great opportunity for our company to help showcase the innovation capabilities of students.

“We plan to launch programmes with the Snake Nation app across Africa with the vision of getting young people to enter the digital and creative economy as technopreneurs with not only digital skills but businesses as well."

The collaboration is motivated by the high rate of youth unemployment in SA, which currently stands at 66.5%.

The British Council's IAU project focuses on building a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within universities, to facilitate the development of skills required to build industries, companies, products and services.

It is designed to support the development of Africa-UK university partnerships that build institutional capacity for engagement in entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems in selected African countries. It also aims to strengthen entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems, and improve support for young people seeking to develop job creation entities and sustainable enterprises.

Melani-Ann Hara, CPUT’s student development officer, comments that the programme will build technopreneurial skills to enable varsity leavers to find employment and start businesses.

"Having a BIIC infrastructure as an innovation capacity-building initiative integrated with post-graduate/graduate education at CPUT and driven by business creation, technopreneurship, and technology transfer, would not only facilitate and improve graduate employability but also develop a platform for innovation and creativity towards accelerated economic growth in the region.”

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