The road to creating an entrepreneurial mindset

MUT staff that attended the workshop. Professor Nokuthula Sibiya is second from right

Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Engagements (RIE) has taken the Vice-Chancellor’s call to inculcate an entrepreneurial mindset at MUT to a higher level. From 6 to 7 June 2023, she was in Johannesburg accompanied by a high-powered MUT team that included, Dr Richard Chidzonga, head of department, Electrical Engineering, Professor Akash Anandraj, Director: Centre for Algal Biotechnology, and Xolile Ngubane, acting director in the Technology Station in Chemicals.

There were also participants from various universities of technology (UOTs) and funding organisations with the common goal of laying the groundwork for the establishment of the Adapted Venture Builder Centre.

Professor Sibiya has grasped opportunities being presented by the Technological Higher Education Network South Africa (THENSA). One of these opportunities, is the upcoming workshop on entrepreneurship for the executive and senior managers which will also be facilitated by THENSA. THENSA is recognised as a vibrant, innovative consortium for advancing technology-focused institutions with a transformative societal impact.

In collaboration with CPUT, THENSA has been awarded a grant dedicated to the development of an adapted Venture Builder Accelerator. Professor Anandraj, the Director of the Centre for Algal Biotechnology (CAB) said the primary objective of this project is to create a model that fosters the acceleration of technology innovation and commercialization. “The envisioned model aims to establish a robust tech ecosystem, uniting exceptional talent, visionary leaders, investors, and government entities. Through this collaborative effort, the network aims to become stronger, more innovative, inclusive, and ultimately, successful,” said Professor Anandraj.

The workshop marked the second instalment in a series of eight workshops aimed at designing and refining the adapted Venture Builder Accelerator model to accelerate technology innovation and commercialization.

Professor Anandraj also said that the driving force behind this intervention was the recognition of the marginalisation experienced by technology-focused universities in the National System of Innovation (NSI) development. The adapted Venture Builder model addresses this issue by focusing on four critical drivers of spin-off success: (i) functional technology innovation, (ii) competent and skilled technopreneur teams, (iii) scalable and coherent business models, and (iv) access to investment finance.