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Loughborough University London as part of The Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS)

4 March 2019

3 mins

Loughborough University London in December 2018, in Pretoria, South Africa, delivered a Training Programme within SAIS 2 (Southern Africa Innovation Support) with the mission to catalyse new businesses and foster the culture of local and regional entrepreneurship.

The team, led by Professor Mikko Koria, Director of the Institute for Design Innovation and Associate Dean for Enterprise at Loughborough University London, together with colleagues Dr Ida Telalbasic (Institute for Design Innovation) and Dr Roy Meriton (Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation) and colleagues from other UK Universities include Dr Seun Kolade, and Dr Karim Ahmed, who have developed a toolkit to serve as the basis for evaluating impact. The Data Collection & Analytics Framework was delivered across five days to 12 participating project coordinators, who will transfer the gained knowledge to their project partners in their local communities, i.e. in the five participating countries: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.

The Data Collection & Analytics Framework includes a four-step approach to build up the impact case studies as an evidence base to build more innovative policies that enable meaningful product, services, and processes that have tangible impact on citizens, business, ecosystems and society. The four-step approach, delivered by the team, included lectures, practical activities and software training in the following areas:

  1. Ecosystem Mapping;
  2. Interviews and Protocols;
  3. Social Network Analysis using Gephi;
  4. Building Impact Case Studies (short-term and long-term)

The Southern African Innovation Support (SAIS) Program is a regional initiative set up in 2011 by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland whose objective is to improve cooperation amongst innovators in the Southern Africa region by strengthening existing innovation systems and platforms. The second phase (2017-2021) of the programme continues to build on previous achievements, bringing into partnership the governments of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and the secretariat of the SADC. SAIS 2 provides grants to projects that seek to pilot, demonstrate and replicate new or improved concepts and prototypes with the users at the market before rolling them out as products, services or processes. The objective is to support entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial operations at the local level, as well as to increase cooperation among innovation support organizations by sharing of practical understanding of the innovation ecosystems operations and activities that assist entrepreneurs across the SADC region. The program has three result areas:

  1. Developing Institutional Capacity for Regional Innovation Cooperation
  2. Scaling Enterprises Through Stronger Innovation Support Organizations
  3. Improved Enabling Environment for Inclusive Innovation Activities in the Region

Further steps and collaboration between SAIS and Loughborough University London include a follow up on the 12 projects that participated in the training through supporting SAIS in developing the evidence base for building impact case studies.

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