Driving education and entrepreneurship

The South African Technology Network 8th Annual Conference, hosted at VUT

The South African Technology Network 8th Annual Conference, hosted at VUT

Excitement is mounting at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) as it eagerly prepares to host the South African Technology Network (SATN) 8th Annual Conference from October 19 to 21 2015.

The University’s Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park in Sebokeng will serve as the venue for the prestigious event which brings together academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, policymakers and practitioners from around the world to share their expertise on the theme: “Entrepreneurship Education for Economic Renewal”.

Global trends also indicate that Science Parks are contributing towards the economy as the research stemming from these entities is becoming increasingly influential in the creation of small, micro and medium-size enterprises (SMMEs), especially at local and regional levels. Raising the profile of the university through the establishment of the VUT Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park as an agent of change enhances and promotes technological economic development in the region; it supports industry and the community with technology that will back up innovation and link their training needs. 

Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu is the keynote speaker, and special guest panel discussions and breakaway sessions will address the important issue of mainstreaming entrepreneurship development within tertiary education institutions.  

The Science Park is abuzz with activity and regular planning meetings are in progress as sponsors, dignitaries, captains of industry and community leaders add their final touches in preparation of a successful event. Numerous students, entrepreneurs, co-operatives and SMMEs are busy assembling their product exhibitions.

Vice-chancellor and principal of VUT Professor Irene Moutlana said: “For VUT it’s not just celebrating the opportunity to host the SATN Conference but also to launch and lay claim to its very own Science Park. This is the heartbeat of where all our production is done and relevant market research is undertaken. The Science Park will serve as our new business model. Unlike other universities, VUT is located right on the boundary of all the surrounding townships. This offers us the opportunity to take up the [local people’s] ideas, convert and develop them into tangible products and commercialise them for the community. This is the value chain of an entrepreneurial university.”

Topics of discussion at the conference will include Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Business, with the aim of purposefully promoting and embedding attributes of entrepreneurial thinking and innovation.

Presentation of papers will be held during the parallel sessions. Here, delegates will be spoilt for choice with a number of subjects:

  • Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship;
  • Promoting an Entrepreneurial Mind-Set;
  • The continuous improvement of the Intensive Product Development Programme using the Japanese Kaizen (improvement) Strategy;
  • Guidelines for the Integration of Entrepreneurial Skills;
  • A challenge-based approach to promote entrepreneurship among youth in an informal settlements; and
  • Conceptualisation of Entrepreneurship Education through Problem-Based Learning at Universities of Technology.

Fun activities during the conference include a boat cruise and a formal dinner with entertainment from renowned South African artist Wesley and the VUT choir.

The event has garnered a lot of interest from the South African universities of technology, government departments, industry, local entrepreneurs and external academics.

We look forward to hosting the event and believe it will be an enriching experience that will enhance the lives of all those in attendance.

More details at www.satnconference.co.za