31 March 2022

The collaboration was formalised during a virtual ceremony on 10 March 2022, during which the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed by the CEO of APU, Datuk Parmjit Singh, and representatives from other universities.

The agreement also includes mutual visits, access to facilities in the incubation centres, advisory to start-up/spin-off companies on regulatory requirements, understanding of the market in each parties’ countries and joint research relating to entrepreneurship.

Commenting on the signing of the MOA, UMP Vice-Chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso said: “The signing of the MOA will provide a platform for strategic international cooperation among the participating institutions. This will contribute towards the realisation of our strategic goal of sustainable development through innovation.”

In his speech, Datuk Parmjit Singh applauded all partners for having a common vision of producing employable graduates with the requisite skills to become entrepreneurs.

“It is about creating entrepreneurs with skills set that will allow them to become globally employable. Entrepreneurship is about turning dreams into reality. It’s about passion. The drive to achieve what our students want to be. Our joint collaboration will go a long way towards meeting this objective,” he said.

UMPProf Mayekiso with Dr Kanayo Ogujiuba, the Project Coordinator of the UMP Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator (CFERI).

“Instead of just employability, we would like to enable our students to create job opportunities by establishing their own businesses. We want to better equip student entrepreneurs by providing them with a holistic entrepreneurship ecosystem that brings together optimal content for entrepreneurship education based on elements to foster and entrepreneurship culture and mind set. This network will foster a thriving entrepreneurial community both on and off-campus,” he added.

“The collaboration with the nine universities will give all partners access to support, and facilities in an incubation centre, along with mentor sharing and training sessions for start-up companies, and the sharing of curriculum and teaching materials related to entrepreneurship programmes. Students can also participate in the ideation boot camps, entrepreneur competition, and accelerator programmes,” said Parmjit Singh.

Through this cross-border enterprise programme, APU students, as well as students from the other nine universities could apply their talent and technical expertise and venture into entrepreneurship while they are still studying in institutions of higher learning.

The MOA is in line with the UMP’s mission to develop graduates that are innovative and entrepreneurial. The university established the Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator (CFERI) to transform students with business ideas into entrepreneurs with viable businesses.

CFERI also assists start-up businesses from the surrounding communities in developing into sustainable, growth-oriented enterprises. It also provides support services, both financial advisory and non-financial services, including new business incubation, access to information, finance, markets, and strategic partners for growth, training, R&D facilities, and supply chain management.

The centre takes on entrepreneurs with start-up businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs with business ideas and support them through a pre-incubation process and then incubation process to develop a sustainable business within three years.

@ Story Lisa Thabethe. Pictures Supplied.