So many great, innovative ideas are usually born from advanced research on a tertiary level. One often hears about these ideas and the benefits they offer, but they seldom hit the market for the everyman to use. The North-West University (NWU) has now partnered with Standard Bank SA to bridge this commercial gap in order to benefit industry investors, research entities and the everyday citizen.
In a first-of-its-kind for South Africa, Standard Bank SA and the NWU with its virtual commercialisation platform, the Innovation Highway, will be hosting an Intellectual Property project showcase in Johannesburg later this month.
The showcase will introduce selected guests and clients of Standard Bank to a suite of exciting new projects and its spinout companies based on the intellectual property of the university.
It will also offer a commercialisation platform to a number of joint projects from outside the academic world, as the NWU strives to promote innovation in wider constituencies.
According to Professor Deon de Beer, Chief Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation Support at the NWU, one of the greatest challenges for innovators and inventors is to find appropriate commercialisation partners with the financial muscle to take their inventions to market.
“Universities will not survive in the innovation and commercialisation space without such partners from industry. Standard Bank has offered to play a crucial role in facilitating such introductions, and this will hopefully be the first of many such showcases. Hats off to Standard Bank, they have incredible vision in this regard,” de Beer says.
This showcase event is the first of a number of innovation projects that will strive to promote ideas for commercial value. Hosted on 24 March 2017, scores of startups will be guided towards maturity by an energetic and expert incubation team at the Standard Bank Incubator in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
“Our partnership with the NWU allows us to contribute towards the development of grassroot entrepreneurs by offering them access to market, mentoring, coaching services and training in business development through our incubator system.
As an organisation that is sturdily committed to entrepreneurship, education and youth development, through our partnership with the NWU, the bank is able to provide more than basic transactional banking and funding support, but can leverage off its existing client base to provide access for the students to showcase their innovative ideas to our relevant clients for possible commercial value.
We take pride in supporting entrepreneurs and the advancement of entrepreneurship in South Africa through such initiatives, to ensure that the community of Innovative entrepreneurs continues to grow”, says Jayshree Naidoo, Head of the Standard Bank Incubator.
Prof Dan Kgwadi, Vice-Chancellor of the NWU, says South Africa needs more innovators and inventors to create new industries and provide more employment opportunities.
“Universities and private-sector institutions should make every effort to support such initiatives.”
For more information, please contact Rudi van der Merwe via email: Rudi.firstname.lastname@example.org, or on his cellphone: 082 406 2869.