20 January 2013

Ethiopia: Addis Abeba University to Open Technology Incubation Centre

Addis Abeba University (AAU) is spending 1.1 million Br to set up a technology business incubation centre (TBIC), which could help to commercialise research products.

The technologists to be selected for the incubation centre, which the university will identify as tenants, will be selected from different sectors, and include; students, faculty members (past and present) and alumni, as well as individuals sourced from various public institutions.

The selection will be based on proposals. They will be trained at the centre, in order to develop their skills and to produce a prototype of their research output, which could ultimately become commercialised. The centre will provide the tenants with equipment, working space and technical assistance.

The University made the announcement on January 16, 2013, at Eshetu Chole Hall - part of the Faculty of Business and Economics - in the attendance of Kassa Tekleberhan, speaker of the House of Federation and chairman of the board of the University, as well as Kaba Urgessa (Dr), the state minister for education.

The taskforce working on the centre visited Seoul National University, Korea University, Korea Advanced Institute of Technology and Pohang Science and Technology University (PESTECH), all inSouth Korea. The plan for the centre has been developed based on what these universities have already achieved, says Mengesha Mamo, chairperson of the taskforce and lecturer at the Addis Abeba Technology Institute.

"South Korea is one of the few countries successful in incubation," he said.

The centre will start with 10 tenants, for the first three years, with a total budget of 2.4 million Br.

The centre will be built on a 296sqm plot and will provide working space for two to three people working with each tenant. It will also offer legal services, including patent handling, and access to the university's libraries, laboratories, computer network and other technical assistances, under the management of the University's Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer.

AAU, established in 1950, started with nine lecturers and 71 students. Currently it has 12 campuses, with a total population of 50,213 students and 225 graduate programmes, of which 69 are PhD programmes.

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