Innovation, Technology Transfer and Commercialisation

Innovators and entrepreneurs training – From ideation to the market

The Directorate of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Commercialisation (DITTC) has been providing the Innovators and Entrepreneurs Training programme to the staff and students of Unisa since 2019.

The training is based on the Business Model Canvass, pioneered by Alex Osterwalder, to help staff and students who are considering creating start-ups based on their innovative ideas maintain focus and evaluate key strategic elements that impact the success of their ideas. In addition, this tool helps would-be-founders assess whether their proposed solution addresses a real market need. In essence, it allows them to answer the questions: Is there a gap in the market, and is there a market in that gap? 

The training began as a seven-week programme (one session per week, per campus) at the Muckleneuk and Florida campuses. However, the training programme soon gained much interest from students and staff members, with the success of the training programme becoming evident through the number of participants completing the training and receiving certificates.

In 2020 and 2021, just like the rest of the world, Unisa faced the challenges of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions, which led the university to migrate the training programme to the virtual platform, Microsoft Teams. This challenge provided an excellent opportunity for the training programme to grow and reach participants beyond Gauteng and even to get Unisa students from all over South Africa. More than 1 400 staff members and students have been trained since 2019. Some previous participants have done well in internal Innovation Support Programmes and are now part of the DITTC accelerator programme. Some of these have represented Unisa in international competitions and programmes.

This training programme was, however, originally designed as an interactive and practical training programme that ideally requires interaction with potential customers as part of the training. Therefore, after all the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, a conscious decision was made to revert to face-to-face sessions. Accordingly, the training will now be conducted at the Unisa Parow, Durban, Muckleneuk, and Ethiopian campuses, with a maximum of 50 participants in each campus session.

The training programme is offered to Unisa staff and students. The primary objective is to equip participants interested in starting up a business with insight and the right tools to enable them to commercialise their innovative product or service offering. The training sessions will take place over five days, focussing on three main areas: ideation, the business model canvas and venture creation. Several facilitators present these action-packed and interactive training sessions from the DITTC, CEMS and Inhlanyelo hub.

For more information on the training programme, you can contact Basanda Pongoma, Business Development Specialist: Pre-Incubation programme at


*By Yoko Bewick, The Directorate of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Commercialisation

Publish date: 2022/12/01

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