Sunday, September 24, 2023

BIH sharpening its eye on start-ups

Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alan Boshwaen, has committed to advancing efforts targeted at start-ups that have developed products beyond proof of concept.

Boshwaen said this last week Thursday at the hub’s inaugural ‘Innovation Botswana’ festival which sought to demonstrate inspiration, creativity and innovation. 
“You don’t wait for something to be perfect and complete to take it to market, you need minimum viable product,” said Boshwaen.

Since its establishment, he said, BIH has developed several innovation support programmes, supported by key strategic partnerships, which focus on entrepreneurial development. He added that they also support technology transfer and diffusion, innovation capacity building and specialized infrastructure. 

He is of the view that to nurture innovation, BIH must uplift deserving innovations and solutions and also expose them to relevant markets, investment opportunities and working partnerships. 

Regarding the multimillion park designed to house the country’s innovative exploits Boshwaen admitted that construction challenges led to some delays. He however expressed that the relocation to the newly constructed park will take place in December 2017. He added that the park will bring together local entrepreneurs, innovators, academic organizations, creative artists, corporate entities as well as the general public. 

“To deliver on its mandate Botswana Innovation Hub is being supported by the establishment of a national gap-closing fund,” he said, which is intended to assist the hub’s registered companies. 

Boshwaen further said that the Hub is an enabler and medium of innovation that will act as a vehicle through which Botswana will become a knowledge-based economy. He said that this speaks to the current vision 2036 drive for the country which makes the hub opportune. This, he added, will see Botswana transform into an efficient, high income, vibrant, innovative and knowledge based economy with a competitive edge in the international arena.

“We intend to foster commercialisation of innovation and technology transfer through pre-incubation, incubation and acceleration as well as technology transfer office,” he said.

For his part, Acting Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research Science and Technology, Dr Kekgonne Baipoledi, said the private sector has a significant role to play in the park. He gave as an example that it offers opportunities in the real estate businesses. 

“There are opportunities in turn key projects that will enhance innovative services offerings to Batswana such as service laboratories, co-creation spaces development, knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) offerings and recreational facilities,” he said.



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