Innovation in Gauteng has received a boost through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Innovation Hub and the CSIR in Pretoria.
The Innovation Hub (“TIH”), Africa’s first accredited Science and Technology Park is a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), which is an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development.
The Innovation Hub’s CEO, Mr McLean Sibanda said “this partnership will yield many opportunities for technology start-ups. We are providing a home for enterpreneurs, as well as value added services such as mentorship, intellectual property management support, networking, subsidised office space and free connectivity to the entrepreneurs in incubation. TIH we are excited to be joining forces with the CSIR, the leading science park in Africa, to
support entrepreneurs and ensure they contribute to the growth of our economy".
According to Dr Sean Moolman, CSIR’s Group Manager for Licensing and Ventures, the main intention for the MoU is to strengthen collaboration and interaction between CSIR and The Innovation Hub in order to support the Gauteng regional innovation system.
“The Innovation Hub location was initially selected to form part of a strong regional innovation system, being located between the CSIR and the University of Pretoria. The intention was that these institutions would together be more than the sum of their parts and that the Innovation Hub would be a natural home for technology start-ups from the CSIR and the University of Pretoria. The MoU has been signed in an effort to strengthen the relationship between the CSIR and the Innovation Hub, especially with the Maxum Incubator, housed at the Innovation Hub,” said Moolman.
The Maxum Business Incubator is TIH’s flagship entrepreneurship programme aimed at accelerating the growth of knowledge-intensive enterprises. The programme comprises a pre-incubation phase, which lasts between 6 to 12 months and allows budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to refine their ideas into viable business cases; as well as a 2- 3 year incubation phase.
In terms of the MoU, which is effective for a period of two years, there will be opportunities to incubate CSIR start-up companies at the Maxum Incubator. The CSIR could potentially assist companies incubated at the Maxum Incubator with technology development and infrastructure needs.
The MoU also makes provision for the CSIR Enterprise Creation for Development (ECD) to provide incubation support to Maxum in the form business plan development, feasibility studies and business advisory services.
The MoU was signed by Dr Rachel Chikwamba in her capacity as CSIR Group Executive: Strategic Alliances and Communication and Mr Ndwakhulu Mukhufhi, General Manager: Incubation & Skills Development at the Innovation Hub.