VIDEO: Commercialisation greenlight for innovation hub products Leslie Chazunguza, a Bulawayo Polytechnic National Certificate student explains how his Laser Engraver works to the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Professor Fanuel Tagwira (right) and the college’s Principal Gibert Mzenzi Mabasa during the Bulawayo Polytechnic College’s 6th research and innovation conference held at a local hotel in Bulawayo on Thursday

Michell Zvanyanya, Chronicle Reporter 

TERTIARY students are now empowered to commercialise prototypes produced in innovation hubs across the country, which would contribute to the country’s industrialisation drive.

Government approved the setting up of industrial parks in 2018 as part of measures to steer innovation and help create more job opportunities. 

The move buttresses the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development’s Education 5.0 policy.

The new policy seeks to ensure tertiary learning institutions play an active role in driving production of goods and services as opposed to churning out graduate job seekers.

Officially opening Bulawayo Polytechnic’s Sixth Research and Innovation Conference in Bulawayo Thursday, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development permanent secretary, Professor Fanuel Tagwira, said industrial parks will result in the development of critical innovations by universities and colleges, which would aid economic growth in provinces.

He said the process of setting up the first industrial park at the University of Zimbabwe farm in Harare was underway. 

“The President’s vision is to develop a new economy driven by science and technology and that is the reason we have already set up five innovation hubs and seek to establish more,” said Prof Tagwira.

“Government has also resolved to set up 10 industrial parks one in each province. This will ensure that different forms of technologies approved the innovation hubs will be taken to the industrial parks where they can be commercialised just like in developed countries.”

He said when a prototype comes out of the innovation hub and is ready for industrialisation, it will be taken to the industrial park as a small starter industry. The project would be properly nursed while it is in the park until a time when it is ready to go out and join other industries in the industrial areas. “It’s like an incubation space where you incubate a small business idea produced in the innovation hub,” said Prof Tagwira. 

He urged polytechnics as technical vocational institutions to play a leading role in equipping students with relevant skills for modern industrialisation. Zimbabwe is in dire need of skilled expertise having suffered brain drain in recent years. The two-day conference ran under the theme “Technical and Vocational Education: Solutions for Sustainable Economic Development Through Heritage-based Research.” 

About 50 delegates drawn from institutions of higher learning across the country attended the conference. -@michellzvanyanyan2

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