Nov 21, 2016 BIH Articles, BIH News

A Public-Private Partnership That Fosters a National Innovation Ecosystem

By: Tirelo Ramasedi

On many fronts and at various levels, the concept of preparing the ground for innovation to occur whether in an organization, community or nation; has been applied to highlight the need and earmark the mandatory due process required to be undertaken in attaining a fertile environment conducive to nurture the innovation seeds that are sown. Preparing the ground for innovation entails identifying what is required and determining where resources should be focused in order to derive the best yield of such an undertaking.

Within any National System of Innovation, we recognize the significance of identifying innovation inputs needed to enable the green shoots of innovation to blossom. Innovation inputs such as human capital and Research & Development (R&D) funding, are some of the critical investments required as foundational building blocks towards a knowledge economy. Intellectual Property (IP) specifically patents, serve as innovation outputs that are used to measure that outcomes or performance of a nation’s ability to innovate.

From a local perspective, innovation endowments like the Botswana Innovation Hub serve as drivers of the national innovation ecosystem which is the current priority for economic diversification. Botswana Innovation Hub is the anchor for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) towards a scientific, technological and indigenous knowledge-based innovation.

2016 marks Botswana’s Golden Jubilee and an opportunity for celebration and reflection of progress and challenges in the national social, economic and political arenas. The year also marks a great milestone within Botswana’s National System of Innovation with the birth of the Youth Innovators Botswana. Youth Innovators Botswana is an initiative of Botswana Innovation Hub in collaboration with De Beers Global Sightholder Sales and Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Cultural Development aimed at, “exposing the youth to the latest innovative platforms and international business trends that will foster entrepreneurship as a lucrative opportunity to create employment as well as diversify the economy.”

The anticipated outcome of the Youth Innovator Botswana 2016 is to inspire, excite and ignite the youth of Botswana towards taking up local entrepreneurship opportunities within areas of technology and innovation through various opportunities available within the country. The inaugural Youth Innovators Botswana seminar will bring together 1000 young people for a day of shared experiences, expert advice and practical steps towards entrepreneurship from local and international industry leaders within innovation and technology.

Youth Innovators Botswana is a response to the Government of Botswana’s call to action to the private sector to support Governments efforts to address unemployment through the engagement of the youth in non-traditional sectors such as innovation, technology and multimedia; the De Beers Group of Companies and the Botswana Innovation Hub have created Youth Innovators Botswana.

Recognising the role of start-up companies and Small Medium Enterprises (SME’s) in supporting economies and creating job opportunities for the youth especially, the initiative seeks to work with other stakeholders to cultivate a conducive national innovation ecosystem. Learning from the inspirational garage operating start-ups of the Silicon Valley that have managed to into Multinational Corporations, the Young Innovators Botswana initiative strives to replicate that success locally.

Key speakers, motivators and mentors who feature in the inaugural programme of Youth Innovators Botswana include the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Honourable Thapelo Olopeng; Senior Vice President responsible for Global Sales and Customer Service at Movius Interactive Corp, Neil McGowan: Botswana Innovation Hub Board Chairman who is also Chairman of Vision 2036 and Resident Director of De Beers Global Sightholder Sales, Neo Moroka and Botswana Innovation Hub CEO Alan Boshwaen.

The workshop will also feature presentations from success youth entrepreneurs to inspire, excite and ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of the youth.