1 APRIL 2018, by FRED KOCKOTT. South Africa needs to up its game in the world of innovation and entrepreneurship, says University of KwaZulu-Natal deputy vice chancellor: research, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath.
Biotechnicians Benjamin Chimukangara and Zandile Sibisi at work in a Krisp laboratory at UKZN developing new genetic tests.
He will be the keynote speaker at this week's Spark Innovation breakfast meeting at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.
In South Africa, he says, when people talk of entrepreneurs, they are often thinking too small-scale - survival entrepreneurial activity.
'If we really want to see the significant economic growth and job creation that we are seeing in developing countries, we must have real innovation in medium and hi-tech entrepreneurship,' he said.
'In the US, they have done it extremely well, leading to a number of tech start-ups. 'We are trying to develop the same kind of mindset and culture here,' said Ramjugernath. 'That is what our Spark events are all about.'
He said that while South Africa was performing well in the biotechnology sphere, the country lacked real hi-tech companies like Apple, Google and Amazon.
He said it was important for all stakeholders in the public and private sectors and academia to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship as a means of socio-economic upliftment.
He said the future of jobs and associated skills development in Africa rested on technological advances being made through what is now widely known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Last year, a study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) showed that 39% of core skills, required across industries in South Africa, would be completely different by 2020.
While the WEF predicted large job losses to hit white-collar sectors worldwide, mostly among people in administrative roles, professions in IT, mathematics, architecture and engineering are expected to gain around 2million jobs.
The third Durban Spark Innovation breakfast meeting is being held on Wednesday, April 4 from 7.30am-8.30am in K2, K-Rith Tower Building, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine campus, UKZN, 719 Umbilo Road.
News date: 2018-04-01