We are pleased to announce that EduNet 2014 will be hosted by the ICT Centre of Obafemi Awolowo University and theInstitute for Entrepreneurship Studies(IFEDS)of Obafemi Awolowo University Nigeria in collaboration with Tel Aviv University Entrepreneurship Centre (StarTAU), Israel.
Theme: Fostering Technology Entrepreneurship in Nigerian Universities
Date: May 20-22, 2014
Venue: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
The three day event will look at issues around building Technology Entrepreneurship Ecosystem within the Nigerian University Community with key examples from the Israel Technology and Innovation Ecosystem.
Oren Simanian, Founder of Tel Aviv University Entrepreneurship Centre and his team from Israel will lead discussions on How Nigeria can create Technology Entrepreneurship Ecosystem with lessons from Israel (the Start-up Nation).
Presentations and Panel discussions will be focused on the following:
-Accessing the state of Technology Entrepreneurship in Nigerian universities with a view of proffering strategies and solutions for Technnovation in Nigeria.
-Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: The Israeli ”Start Up Nation” story,
-The role of government in fostering Technology Entrepreneurship in Nigerian Universities.
-Private sector support in Building Technology Entrepreneurship Centres in Nigeria
-The World Bank as a strategic partner in Entrepreneurship Development
-Funding as key to the success of Technology Entrepreneurship.
-The concept of Technology Incubation and acceleration as major ingredient in growing entrepreneurship
-How to Create an Entrepreneurial University.
-Tech transfer and commercialization: Tel Aviv University case studies
-Developing partnership and collaboration as key to the success of Entrepreneurship.
-Success stories of leading Technology Entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
-Start Up Nigeria: From the Pitch to Turning Ideas into profitable Ventures: What does it take.
It is worthy to note that in 2012 the focus of the conference was centred on the importance of connecting the Nigerian Universities with broadband internet. The conference emphasized the need for our universities to build Research and Education Networks (RENs).
Today most universities have internet connections and are now thinking of how to connect to the Nigeria Research and Education Network (ngREN).This shows that the conference to a large extent achieved its objectives of 2012
This year, having seen the need for Nigerian universities to lead in the development of technology entrepreneurship in Nigeria, EduNet conference now has a new task hence the focus of EduNet 2014 conference is on building Technology Entrepreneurship/incubation centres to foster entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
How Nigerian Universities can Drive Technology and Innovation
The world is waiting for Innovations out of Africa, the African Union and other relevant stakeholders are beginning to take several African innovation initiatives a bit seriously. Technology and Innovation is now like a major Sport with each country running their innovation Olympiad. Nigeria has the potential to lead in this following her huge human and material resources. One key sector that has huge potentials for growth and competitiveness is the Education sector in Nigeria but these potentials are yet untapped.
In a recent article titled Why Nigerian Universities cannot Drive Innovation in Nigeria, some of the enormous challenges facing the Nigerian universities were outlined such as Poor funding of the Universities by government, brain drain, Infrastructural deficiency, skill and knowledge gap etc., We all have come to agree that these problems have hindered technology innovation out of Nigerian universities for several years.
Despite these challenges there are growing opportunities inherent in the Nigeria academic community as stated earlier which need to be properly harnessed to ensure the future and survivability of the country. This calls for urgent need to begin to think of solutions to these problems and finding out the way forward for our country with focus on innovation.
Several approaches and projects have been undertaken by the government to foster innovation in Nigeria. It is time for a new method, it is time to critically look at what other nations like Israel and the US are doing in the area of technology and Innovation.
It is worthy to note that the tri-angle of innovation around the world is held together by the cooperative endeavor of the Government, the Academic Community, and the Technology Industry. A deficiency or disconnect in any of these key drivers of innovation will definitely bring an imbalance in the innovation ecosystem. This makes the role of the academic community in driving innovation very critical; many nations are maximizing their ivory towers by creating superb technology institutes and centres focused at grooming a generation of innovators for the future. The importance of the collaboration of the academy, the industry and government is crucial for creating a fostering entrepreneurial eco-system. The industry funding experience and networking; the academy human resources and R&D capabilities; and the government policy – all combined together creates an effective way of promoting and developing business, education and technology for a successful entrepreneurial eco-system. This type of collaboration is non-existent in Nigeria and that is a major problem hindering innovation.
Many universities around the world are at the centre of innovations, our universities are yet to realize how important their role is in driving innovation. Innovation ecosystems are driven by the intellectual prowess of the academics and the academia.
For example, the contribution of Technion-Israel Institute of technology to the technological development of Israel and the world clearly shows how relevant the academic community is in leading innovation in a nation. The story of Israel’s transformation as a Technology giant cannot be complete without mentioning the contributions of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology which has graduated over 67,000 tech entrepreneurs and professionals that are adding great value to the Start-up Nation and the world at large.As documented in the book Technion Nation, the story of how Technion Graduates are contributing to the development of Israel’s economy, the over 67,000 graduates, holding over 90,000 degrees, indeed became the foundation for Israel’s start-ups, basic research, applied technology, high-tech industry, global management expertise, export sector and economic growth.
Specifically, the Technion’s aeronautical engineering department has spurred key breakthroughs for Israel’s defense. Its electrical engineering and Computer science departments have provided the talented graduates who drive Israel’s electronics and software industry, which generates $20billion of Israel’s $40 billion in annual exports. Its architecture and Civil Engineering departments built Israel’s roads and infrastructure. And three of Technion’s talented faculty have won Nobel Prizes in the past eight years. This is just the contribution of one university!
Others like Tel Aviv University, Israel has contributed in making the city of Tel Aviv a leading innovation hub in the world after Silicon Valley. In the US, Harvard University, MIT, Stanford, Geogiatech are a few of higher education communities that have conquered their environment and are extending their tentacles to other countries and helping them develop innovation around research and development of innovative products and services.
One of the ideas that will help the Nigerian University to drive Technology and Innovation is to set up Technology Innovation Institutes and Centres focused at driving Innovation and inventions.
A Technology Entrepreneurship Centre in the Nigerian universities with the support of the Nigerian Government, the Technology Industry and the University community will help form a great synergy that will ensure the development of entrepreneurship in Nigeria, help reduce Youth Unemployment which is a major challenge for Africa and impact on the overall economy of the nation.
Such centres will serve as an incubation platform for young entrepreneurs who are undergraduates, graduates, researchers and the academic community. The center in its first year of establishment will support the building of at least 100 technology focused businesses out of the university community in Nigeria. These businesses will focus on using science, Technology and Innovation to solve real problems in the society.
The tech centres will provide business support services and the technology needed, to undergraduates, graduates, researchers and the entire academic community. This support will help them launch, nurture and grow their own businesses thereby reducing the high unemployment rate in Nigeria.
The centres will help in the commercialization of ideas, inventions, and projects from the academic community – To tap into the potentials of renowned and distinguished professors and other academics to build world class businesses. This will be a catalyst that will drive innovation from the Nigerian Universities.
It will provide a platform that will foster collaboration in research and development between Israel, the US and Nigeria.
Through an exchange program, Entrepreneurs from the center will have opportunity to visit Israel, Silicon Valley and also learn from the culture of entrepreneurship in those countries.
The Technology Innovation centres will be a channel to introduce Nigeria young tech entrepreneurs and their businesses to the international market and expose them to Venture Capitalists, partners etc. that will scale their businesses.
In other to start off discussions around the building of these tech centres in Nigerian Universities, EduNet 2014 (hosted by the ICT centre and the Institute for Entrepreneurship studies of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife)will provide the platform for discussions with the Government, ICT directors of Nigerian Universities, Regulatory authorities of the Nigerian Universities, Funding/partnering organizations and the Technology industry in Nigeria in collaboration with Tel Aviv University Entrepreneurship Centre (StarTAU)Israel and the Israel Startup Network.
The stage is set for this great initiative, Join us today, let’s make it happen!
Visit www.edunetconference.com for more details.