Creating a resource network for collaboration in tech entrepreneurship

As part of the knowledge generation infrastructure, universities are better poised to play a crucial role in driving the knowledge economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution agenda and as an apt mechanism to solve some of the societal challenges that South Africa and Africa face.


Through the Directorate of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Commercialisation (DITTC), Unisa participated in the first Forum on Technology Transfer, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Commercialisation Resource Network for Africa from 26 to 27 September in Nairobi, Kenya.


Ayanda Noma, Director: Directorate of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Commercialisation

The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) hosted the forum in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU) and united technology transfer leaders from across Africa, the United States of America and India. Ayanda Noma, Director of the DITTC, was one of the speakers at the forum. From a South African perspective, he shared his experiences and knowledge on how public research institutes and universities support technology transfer, innovations and technology entrepreneurship. 

A resource network for ongoing collaboration was established in sharing successful technology transfer programmes, innovation and technology entrepreneurship programmes.

The Forum on Technology Transfer, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Commercialisation Resource Network for Africa will continue to share information and convene annually under the auspices of the African Academy of Sciences. The long-term goal is to develop technology transfer capacity and competence across the continent.

Unisa shaping futures in the tech transfer offices in Africa

The DITTC, through the leadership of Ayanda Noma, has been involved with Michigan State University since 2018 through student exchange programmes and staff collaboration visits. "It was through these engagements that the forum’s idea and formation of an Africa-wide community of practices to drive the Technology Transfer, Entrepreneurship and Commercialisation agenda across the continent was discussed," he said. Dr Callista Rakhmatov and Prof Karimbhai Maredia of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU championed the initiative.

Noma, who has extensive experience working on technology transfer capacity development programmes across the continent, has been part of a mentorship programme for Technology Transfer Offices in Tanzania and a technology transfer development programme in Botswana. 

The DITTC is hosting two technology transfer fellows from the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University as part of the Southern African Research & Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) managed programme to build technology transfer capacity in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The programme is sponsored by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the Japanese Patents Office.


* Compiled by Mpho Moloele, PR and Communications, Department of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation 

Publish date: 2023/10/10