PAUSTI Incubation Centre of Excellence, based at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), showcased 12 innovations from postgraduate students drawn from various African countries, on September 27, 2022.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) funded Incubation Centre was set up in June 2021 to accelerate the application of research and development, through technology and linkages with the private sector, to drive innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent.
Over the past 7 months, the centre has supported the innovators by conducting capacity-building sessions, providing business training and funding them with up to $5000 to develop their prototypes.
The purpose of showcasing these innovations is to expose and link the innovators to stakeholders that will be key in advancing their growth, either through funding or career opportunities.
African Development Bank, Division Manager, Education and Skills Development, Ms Hendrina Chalwe Dorobo lauded the innovators for building on their ideas and producing a working prototype ready for commercialization.
While acknowledging that the AfDB is committed to skill developments as one of their tenets, Ms Dorobo said strong partnerships such as the one witnessed in running the Incubation Centre, are vital in ensuring relevance and sustainability of the solutions being churned out by researchers and innovators.
“As the African Development Bank, we are committed to ensuring that innovations do not just gather dust but create value and enhance the socio-economic development of the continent,” said the Division Manager.
In a speech read by the Principal, Karen Campus, Prof. Hellen Mberia, the VC, further appealed to the government, industry and private sector to actively engage with the innovators and complement their efforts toward bringing solutions to problems facing society.
“It is my hope that the African Union, government and private sector will partner with the PAUSTI Incubation Centre of Excellence to help create an enabling environment where ideas and innovations that count will be mentored to fruition; furthering their growth, whether through funding, career opportunities or connections with other stakeholders,” implored Prof. Ngumi.
Both the African Union, Ag. Director of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Hambani Masheleni and Deputy Director in-charge of University Education, Mr James Kiburi praised the incubation efforts of the Centre and acknowledged that the youth and innovations are the anchors of socio-economic development of the continent.
Mr Masheleni said incubation and the growth of innovations play an important role in curbing the youth unemployment rate in Africa of around 12.7 per cent while Mr Kiburi believes that the youth should be at the forefront in championing industrialisation for the development of the continent.
iHub was contracted to set up and operationalize the Incubation Centre. Through the centre, PAUSTI Students have gained access to a global network of accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, and corporate partners attracting much-needed technical expertise for their innovations. They have also been involved in activities such as design thinking workshops and innovation challenges, CV clinics, entrepreneurship masterclasses, pre-incubation and incubation programs, and excursions to innovation hubs and companies among others.
The PAUSTI CoE is the first of its kind incubation centre established among the 5 Pan African University institutes in the African continent.
The event was graced by representatives from the African Union, the African Development Bank, and the Ministry of Education among other private sector partners and investors.
The Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI) prides itself as a postgraduate hub of research and innovation; offering 4 masters and PhD programmes. PAUSTI has a highly diverse faculty and student population drawn from 41 African Countries.
PAUSTI is hosted at JKUAT in Kenya and opened its doors to the pioneer students in November 2012. PAUSTI university seeks to go beyond its traditional role of providing education to incorporate research, innovation, commercialization of knowledge, and entrepreneurship in the private sector.
Financed by the AfDB, the PAUSTI Centre of Excellence (PAUSTI CoE) is a state-of-the-art centre and innovation hub that seeks to promote and drive innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, and private sector linkages and responsiveness. It also seeks to accelerate the application of research and development, through technology and linkages with the private sector, to drive innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent.
The Center will engage academics, students, the private sector, and researchers to enhance the applied research capability of the University.
iHub, founded in 2010, is a globally recognized organization that is deeply steeped in the local Technology innovation culture. iHub serves the tech community, by connecting organizations and people, building market-relevant solutions, and being ahead of the curve in innovation.