When, on Tuesday afternoon, MUT was approached by the eThekwini Municipality to get representation at a high-profile workshop to be held virtually on 28 July, it had to happen against all odds. This was MUT’s opportunity to showcase its programmes on innovation.
Xolile Ngubane from the Technology Stations and Chemicals (TSC) Directorate raised her hand and MUT has received raving reviews from the city. The workshop was for the National Treasury and the City of eThekwini for public and knowledge sector stakeholders on innovation collaboration pilot. The overarching aim of the workshop was to mobilise broad public-knowledge sector partnerships in support of an integrated innovation ecosystem development in the city of eThekwini with regional linkages to provincial initiatives. Stakeholders included the local universities (MUT, UKZN and the DUT), government agencies (Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) provincial government departments; and Transnet as an SOE. The MUT presentation by Ngubane was focused on innovation geared towards Community & Entrepreneurship Development.
Ngubane presented, on behalf of Prof Busi Nkonki-Mandleni, on MUT’s innovative projects from the Community Engagement and Development Directorate (CEAD) which were categorized under Sustainable Livelihoods, Environmental Sustainability and Youth Development.
The TSC part of the presentation focused on technology-based products developed for SMMEs under the themes of Cosmetics. Key to these initiatives is ensuring that the Rand circulate within communities – whether these are in the township, city and rural areas. The detergents/disinfectants theme focused on Water/waste management. On the collaborations, the presentation talked to the MUT/KZN-EDTEA projects that resulted in the training of just over 200 entrepreneurs.
Dr Anitha Ramsuran presented the TSC technology development project as one of the innovative projects on behalf of the Technology Innovation Agency.