Ruaraka, Kenya – In a significant move to bridge the gap between academia and industry, universities have been urged to form partnerships with commercial enterprises to promote and monetize student innovations.
According to Kenya News Agency, Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Vincent Onywera highlighted the urgency for universities to actively engage with industry players. This initiative aims to provide a platform for student innovations that often remain unutilized, despite the considerable effort and resources invested in their creation. Prof Onywera addressed this at the annual Innovation Week and Industry Summit hosted by KCA University’s main campus.
During his address, Prof Onywera emphasized the wealth of entrepreneurial projects developed within universities that have yet to reach the marketplace due to a lack of commercialization. He underscored the need to connect young innovators with industry veterans not only to market their inventions but also to enhance their developmental skills.
Prof Onywera also revealed that KCA University sustains a Research Fund dedicated to fostering innovations, asserting its role in ensuring these innovations reach operational status. He mentioned the success story of a student who developed a telemedicine application and received support from this fund, encouraging others to seek similar assistance.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor called upon partners, sponsors, and stakeholders to back KCA University’s endeavors to advance research, innovation, and the commercialization of research findings.
The event showcased a range of innovations and assembled a diverse group of local and international innovators, exhibitors, and researchers, with an attendance surpassing 2000 participants. Awards were presented to the top innovations, with Alvin Ekada from JKUAT University winning the Best Business Plan competition for his healthcare accessibility initiative, and Hope Wanjeri from KCA University winning the hackathon with a health management system that utilizes Near-Field Communication technology.
Andrew Musila, the head of innovations at Safaricom, took the opportunity to call for more industry collaborations with educational institutions to provide guidance and expertise to student innovators. Musila also reaffirmed Safaricom’s commitment to supporting the burgeoning innovators with thought leadership and the necessary technological infrastructure to realize their visions.