Local Universities advised to partner with businesses

22nd November 2017
University of Botswana Campus Source:The Midweek Sun


By Ngoni Chiutsi -

Botswana universities and colleges have been challenged to forge business partnerships with local businesses. Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Chief Executive Parminder Vir Obe was in Botswana last week where she urged institutions of higher learning in the country to form relationships with businesses and share knowledge of common interest. She stated that lot of big businesses and corporations sometimes stop innovating and it is the young entrepreneurs and university graduates who can see gaps in the industry and proffer solutions.

“Entrepreneurs need those business solutions and the universities should use those leverages and power,” she said while addressing entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in the SME ecosystem at the University of Botswana. “I have seen it (partnerships) in the United Kingdom (UK) where I have lived and worked. It’s there as well in the United States (US) and India and universities are important hubs and are becoming an important asset in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Vir OBE whose organisation was established in 2010. TEF is the leading philanthropy organisation in Africa championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the continent. University of Botswana management lecturer, Dr Gaofetoge Ganamotse, said students in Botswana are struggling to embrace the entrepreneurship drive. Dr Ganamotse graduate unemployment can only be addressed through engaging entrepreneurial activities.

She stated that there is need to come up with initiatives that could encourage people to think about entrepreneurship as an alternative career. Dr Ganamotse added that there is need to provide policies that will encourage people to venture into entrepreneurship programmes. “We should inculcate the entrepreneurship mindset from as low as primary education up to the tertiary level. Entrepreneurship education should not be for one faculty or programme but should be for all the courses,” said the UB official. She said UB has already introduced a number of courses in entrepreneurship up to Master’s level. Dr Ganamotse expressed interest in partnering with TEF and do more entrepreneurship research. The Foundation’s flagship initiative, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train mentor and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs, capable of changing the face of business across Africa.

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