CUTis brings experts to help grow SMMEs and local economy

South Africa is one of the many countries faced with a high rate of unemployment; affecting the future of youth and the economy. Leaders in various sectors are finding ways to respond to this ongoing challenge facing the country.

At CUT, the concept of innovation and entrepreneurship seems to important elements that can help solve the problems of unemployment and grow the economy.

Building SMMEs with IP workshop_1w

As a means to promote and introduce a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship amongst CUT community and society, the Central University of Technology’s innovation services (CUTis) held an IP workshop on 24 and 25 October 2017 to expose upcoming entrepreneurs and researchers who wish to become entrepreneurs to have an understanding of Intellectual Property Rights Act (IPR) and its implications for higher education institutions. The workshop aimed at educating and informing potential entrepreneurs on how to protect their ideas and inventions, grow SMME’s and make a difference to the local economy.

In his address Prof. Henk de Jager, Vice-Chancellor and Principal said that the event is about engaging and collaborating to ensure that the impact in the region and country is enhanced.

“My dream is to see visible difference in surrounding areas and townships that have high unemployment rate. As a university of technology, we should be relevant to the people of the region and make a visible impact. As a collective with local and provincial government, academic partners and National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), we need to strengthen the partnerships to ensure we make a difference in our region. It is our commitment and passion as an institution to deliver and address poverty in this region and improve the lives of all people; together we can do more.”

He highlighted that the current statistics released by Statistics SA indicating that the population between 15 to 64 years of the working age is about 36,9 million. “Of that amount, 5,8 million people are currently unemployed, and 18,1 million receive social grant every month. This is a concerning matter. The only way to address this issue is to empower our people by creating more jobs and opportunities so that they can rely on themselves. Considering the simple psychology studies, the basic desire of any human being is to feel appreciated, add value to the society and be able to take care of their families but it becomes impossible if families rely on social grant.”

He said that CUT is passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship development, indicating the efforts made in ensuring that the institution has an impact on sustainable development and economic growth. “Early this year we launched an idea generator open to staff, students and community to unlock their potential and enhance their ideas to develop them into viable business plan, and ultimately into marketable products. We are also proud of the innovation eco-system, which incorporates a compulsory entrepreneurial stream into the curricular for all students. With all these programmes there is some exposure to entrepreneurial skills, and hopefully, those students will be triggered to come to the idea generator.”

DR Karry Faul, Head of NIPMO commended CUT for the strides it has made in addressing local problems. “I am really impressed to see CUT showing commitment and striving to be relevant to the society. This is the situation where we say that technology transfer is not a cash cow for the university, but a tool meant to assist universities to be able to find solutions to local problems.”

In her presentation she spoke about Intellectual Property (IP) and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). She said Intellectual property refers to “creation of the mind” and is divided into two categories which are industrial property (including inventions, designs, plant varieties, and marks or logos) and copyright (literary work, music, films as well as computer programmes). Whereas IPR are the rights given to a person over their creations of the mind, namely: a patent for an invention, a plant breeder’s rights for a new plant variety or a trademark for a mark.

She also said that the purpose of IPR act is to provide for more effective utilisation of IP emanating from publicly financed research and development, establish NIPMO and the IP fund and provide for the establishment of Offices of Technology Transfer (OTTs) at institutions.

Building SMMEs with IP workshop_2w

Deriving inspiration from a Hansa Pilsner Advert, “Vuyo a big dreamer” Miles Kubheka made Vuyo’s big dream to come true. While watching an advertisement by Hansa Pilsner- an SAB beer brand, Miles Kubheka, founder of the Vuyo’s brand, wondered whether this success story of an entrepreneur who started off with mobile vending units selling boerie rolls, to becoming a world-famous yacht owner was true. After some research, he realised that Vuyo was a fictional character and saw a gap in the market for what would become an incredibly successful business model.

In a motivational, informative, educational and interactive start-up grind session on the evening of 25 October, Miles said that anybody can come up with great ideas but often people don’t act on them. “With the high unemployment rate in the country we should be coming up with ideas and creating jobs. It all starts with an idea and a market nitch. The trick is to start small and act without allowing fear and doubt to get in the way. You must have the ability to jump over.”

Images

1: Dr Kerry Faul, Head/Chief Director: National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO); Prof Henk De Jager, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT); Dr Hanita Swanepoel NIPMO Science Analyst at the Central University of Technology Free State Innovation Services (CUTis);  Mr Thabang Jase Acting Director: Advisory and Support NIPMO; Ms Geralda Winkler, Acting CEO of CUTis and Mr Zulfaqar Dudhia, Intellectual Property Expert (Clarivate Analytics).

2: Vuyo Miles Kubheka engaging during the workshop.

 

Uploaded: 02 November 2017

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