South Africa: Minister Lindiwe Zulu On Launch of Tuksnovation High-Tech Business Incubator

press release

Minister of the Department of Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, officially launched the TuksNovation High-Tech Business Incubator at the University of Pretoria, Hatfield Campus, on 06 August 2018.

Established in partnership with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD), TuksNovation aims to provide innovative enterprise development services to develop and commercialise the University's laboratory developed technology into new sustainable enterprises with social and economic impact in South Africa.

With the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution fast dawning on the world, traditional economic sectors are confronted by digital disruptions which compel them to review their business models. With this in mind there is a need for academic institutions to prioritise technology and innovation in their curriculum to meet the demands of the future. TuksNovation has been strategically placed within the University of Pretoria's Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT) Faculty, with the aim being to include other faculties involved in science and technology. The centre will mainly be focusing on the more than 3800 postgraduate students in the EBIT faculty.

South Africa has an alarming challenge of unemployment and recent statistics by Statistics SA place unemployment at 27.2 %. Traditional sectors such as manufacturing are shedding more jobs leaving young people with fewer opportunities of employment. Of even greater concern is the high unemployment level for post graduate students. Beyond the public-private partnerships which aim to curb this challenge, academic institutions have a role to play in implementing innovative strategies to leverage and commercialise research institution developed technologies in order to create sustainable new enterprises and subsequently job opportunities.

TuksNovation is based on the triple helix model, building strong networks between academia, government and industry in order to create new companies that will benefit the broader society. The centre offers word-class technology development and commercial support throughout the technology and business development life cycles. Up to the industrialisation (production) phase, TuksNovation provides technology development and entrepreneurship skills support in order to ensure that the technology is fully developed and addresses a relevant market need. Following this, the programme focuses on commercialisation and business growth support. TuksNovation's programmes therefore includes a Virtual Incubation

Programme focussing on technology and techno-entrepreneurship skills, as well as an Acceleration Programme focusing on commercialisation and business growth.

As an agency of the Department of Small Business Development, Seda supports 63 Technology Incubation Centres across the country affording start-ups and new disruptive innovations a well-equipped and protected environment in which to develop and grow for a period of three years. Incubation has been proven to reduce the failure rate in the first few years of small enterprises. In 2016/17 financial year the incubation programme Seda has been able establish new 441 enterprises with an investment of R96.3 million. The companies within the incubation programme achieved a turnover of over R825 million, ensuring a return on investment of 766%. In addition Seda and its partners have launched 12 Centres for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubation (CFERI) centres in collaboration with stakeholders at high learning institutions, particularly TVET Colleges, across the country.

Issued by: Department of Small Business Development

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