Jun 30, 2016 BIH Articles, BIH News

BIH facilitates entrepreneurship growth

By Ketshepile More (BOPA)

Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH), chief executive officer, Mr Alan Boshwaen says they play a strategic role of creating networks to ensure that innovations are recognised and rewarded.

Mr Boshwaen said this on June 27 at launch of the DKar Innovation Resource Centre and the official opening of the International Development Design Summit (IDDS) Botswana in DKar.

He said BIH had a mandate to facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship and commercialisation of grassroots innovations.

He indicated that BIH had established programmes offering innovation support to entrepreneurs, individuals, companies and NGOs.

He pointed that the IDDS initiative was notable and relevant for BIH to support through the National Technology Transfer Office.

“The BIH sees true value in IDDS projects and programmes which focuses on design innovation, rapid prototyping and product development that directly addresses immediate societal needs,” he said.

Mr Boshwaen stated that BIH had worked with IDDS before in their initiatives as a support structure to These Hands organisation.

“This year BIH supported These Hands organisation for the development of a co-creation space in Dkar by donating computers to the resource innovation centre,” said Mr Boshwaen.

The donation is part of their corporate social responsibility as well as outreach program to communicate their role of Science and Technology Park across the country.

Mr Boshwaen believed the computers will be of great value to the daily operations of the centre. He also said their support and participation was ensuring social upliftment among the people of Dkar, alongside other stakeholders like University of Botswana. He indicated that they see design innovation as a meaningful contribution to society.

For her part, University of Botswana Lecturer in the Department of Industrial Design and Technology Ms Nani Setlhatlhanyo said although the university might be able to always have funds to support the centre, they can assist with design knowledge and skills and expertise.

She indicate that they can readily assist with co-developing design projects with Dkar community and Dkar Innovation Centre, assist also to further develop and refine some of the projects that have already started developing.

Dkar village Kgosi April Montshosi also applauded the IDDS Botswana and These Hands organisation for their efforts.

He said such initiatives can be used to empower the communities especially that they are disadvantaged and help them in alleviating from poverty; as they will be gaining skills and knowledge which they could later use to better their lives.

IDDS Botswana was first launched in D’kar last year and the summit ran for two weeks.

This year’s summit is expected to go on for a month after which participants become a part of the growing International Development Innovation Network (IDIN).

Some participants continue to work on projects from the summit, while others pursue their own local innovation projects.

This year’s participants will work on six prototypes projects namely sustainable tea maker, morama nut Sheller, curved interlocking block press, washing machine, solar glass bead furnace and deep sand wheelchair.