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Satellite Incubator Aims to Launch Successful Entrepreneurs



Satellite Incubator Aims to Launch Successful Entrepreneurs

During the recent launch of the RMCERI Satellite Incubator at the Tshwane University and Technology’s Soshanguve South Campus, a partnership was forged between TUT and RMCERI.

As part of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE), the Business Incubator was established in 2018 to nurture young, technologically innovative entrepreneurs. Providing them with the skills to establish profitable businesses, it aims to transform them from aspiring individuals into successful entrepreneurs.

Satellite Incubator Aims to Launch Successful Entrepreneurs

On 24 May, the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology’s Faculty Entrepreneurial announced the launch of the incubator in Building 15-G35 at Soshanguve South campus. TVET lecturers already receive robotics training in the TVET faculty when they collaborate on research projects and work together on robotics training. The opening of the satellite incubator in the Faculty of ICT is a testament to the spirit of collaboration between the two technology faculties.

Satellite Incubator Aims to Launch Successful Entrepreneurs

From left – Martin Manmohan, Dr Etienne van Wyk and Dr Grace Kanakana – Katumba.

The government is mandating that RMCERI become an incubator to help nurture and support student entrepreneurs from not just ICT and FEBE, but all faculties, according to Martin Manmohan, Center Manager at RMCERI.

“Since the launch is taking place at the Soshanguve Campus, it is really important for us from a strategic point of view. Now we can see how Engineering and ICT can collaborate, as well as how to fulfill our mandate of providing access to RMCERI services to our immediate community,” stated Manmohan.

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RMCERI, he explained, is a business incubator that offers support, advice, and guidance for any business ideas or to businesses that are seeking market access.

Dr Grace Kanakana-Katumba, Executive Dean of FEBE, stated that opportunities for collaboration must be created with industry, the surrounding community and government stakeholders so the University can fulfill its mission of being a people’s university that makes knowledge work.

A strategic review was conducted by the Faculty along with its executive team to drive innovation for engagement and social development. As engineers, we realized that the only way to make knowledge work is to innovate, as well as to provide opportunities for staff and students to be innovative, to develop products and to introduce services that will meet community needs, so we investigated our current research chairs, incubators and centers.

Ultimately, the two faculties realized that the initiative would be most effective if we worked together. Creating future-ready graduates requires doing things differently, not just completing the curricula and sending students out into the world and telling them to make it work. We must also expose students to situations and an environment where they can solve complex problems, make mistakes, try new things, and learn new things. Student innovators and future entrepreneurs alike thrive at RMCERI,” she said.

“One of the challenges studentpreneurs often face is finding the right balance between marketing, product development, and financial planning,” said Manhohan, when asked why RMCERI wanted to partner with TUT’s Faculty of ICT. Students are not the only ones experiencing this struggle, but faculty members are as well. We recognize and aim to address this issue by bridging the skills gap among faculties through the RMCERI Incubation Hub. A technologically innovative entrepreneur’s success depends on having the knowledge and expertise in all three areas of product/service development, marketing, and finance.”

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As a result, we are actively working to implement this model and ensure that students and faculty alike receive the necessary support and resources to succeed. “This initiative showcases our commitment to cultivating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in our academic community.”

Three tiers of services will be offered by the RMCERI incubator. It will provide students with business services to assist them in developing and refining their entrepreneurial ventures. In addition to business planning, market research, feasibility studies, and legal and regulatory advice, these services include business consulting and market research. These services will provide students with expert advice and resources that will assist them in enhancing the feasibility and sustainability of their business ideas.

As a second part of the program, the incubator will offer students financial and non-financial support, including seed funding, grants, loans, workshops, training sessions, shared office space, and specialized facilities. To prepare students to succeed in starting and running a business, we provide them with the necessary resources, skills, and knowledge.

As a final benefit, students will have the opportunity to network through the incubator. As well as connecting with industry professionals and entrepreneurs, they will have the opportunity to meet investors and potential collaborators. In addition to opening doors to partnerships and mentoring relationships, these connections may allow you to gain valuable insight from established professionals in the ICT industry. A supportive ecosystem is essential to help students flourish on their entrepreneurial journeys by providing them with networking opportunities.

As acting rector of the Soshanguve Campus and executive dean of the Faculty of ICT, Dr Etienne van Wyk believes the satellite incubator will help the Faculty produce graduates who are future-ready. Among the advantages of participating in the incubator are access to expertise, resources and emerging trends, as well as a supportive ecosystem. As a result, start-ups will become future-ready by acquiring the skills, knowledge, networks, and adaptability needed to thrive in a constantly changing environment.”

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For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711   Email: [email protected]

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