The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH), together with AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation and other partners, has set aside June as Tech Entrepreneurship Forum (TEF) Month to foster collaboration between industry and academia.
The month-long event kicked off with a virtual open day under the theme; Fostering Stronger Collaboration Between Industry and Academia to Promote Tech Entrepreneurship. It featured information technology industry experts of companies from Germany, who provided participants with the chance to engage and learn from them.
Executive Director for the Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana (IIPGH), David Gowu, in his opening remarks during the forum indicated that there is a need to bring academia and industry closer. He said, “We want to bring academia and industry closer; we want to ensure that what is going on in academia benefits industry and vice versa. So, this forum focuses on how to foster collaborations between those in industry and academia. For our organization, that is one of the main objectives.”
Vice president for Internationalisation and Diversity, Bonn-Rhein Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Germany, Professor Juergen Bode, who gave a presentation on the topic ‘German Practice-Oriented Education: Understanding Industry–Academia collaborations’ mentioned that it is best to hire professors who have had some level of experience in the industry besides the theory.
He mentioned that having such resource persons in the university will help in bridging the gap between the two sectors which will go further to help the universities create an easy collaboration with the industries to help address the existing challenge.
“Let me show a few success factors that I believe are important. Every professor at the University of Applied Sciences must have industry experience. He or she must have at least five years of working experience after graduation. Then the minimum of three years must be outside academia,” he explained.
“So, this is the advantage that every professor at the University of Applied Sciences has, contacts with industry, knows how industry processes work, knows how theoretical knowledge is to be transferred into a practical environment, and has personal relationships with companies that help the professor support students also establishing links with industry. And always current with new developments in the industry to transfer this immediately into the university environment,” he added.
Speaking on better approaches to begin good collaboration between academia and industry, he advised it is essential that instead of academia seeking sponsorship from industry, they must rather invite them for programs that provide inputs for industries.
He said this will create networking opportunities for universities, adding that such a move is valued by the industry as one that adds value.
To achieve collaboration between the two sides, there is the need to eliminate mistrust between both, while the government comes out with a policy that will help drive the partnership needed. This is important because both academia and industry will need each other’s contribution.
The second day of the forum held a discussion on ‘Doing Business in Ghana’ which cut across topics like; Work culture in Ghana, work ethics, soft skills required for corporate success, and leading tech skills in Ghana, among others.
Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Professor Rosemond Boohene advised young individuals doing business to spend quality time on finding good information that will help them grow their businesses, explaining that it is another form of investing in their business.
The art of doing business in recent times according to business experts cannot thrive without technology as it has been the driving force of the majority of businesses in the world. This has become important for entrepreneurs to tap into the gains technology brings onboard to their businesses.
TEF Month will also include the Industry-Academia Tech Dialogue (INDAC-TED). This session seeks to facilitate healthy dialogue between academia and industry to bridge the skills gap and enhance the training of skilled human resources in the IT sector. It comes off on July 21 at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Then the main highlight of the month, the Tech Entrepreneurs Forum (TEF), initiated by IIPGH, will provide a networking platform and workshop for corporate organizations, SMEs, independent consultants, and startups to showcase their products and services. TEF will take place on June 21 at the Holiday Inn, Accra.
The month then ends with the DigiCAP Business Breakfast Meeting on June 30. It shall serve as an evaluation and wrap-up of the entire Tech Entrepreneurship Month (TEF). This comes off at the IIPGH office in Accra.
From IIPGH, promoting cooperation between industry and academia, Tech Entrepreneurship Forum Month strives to create a supportive environment for tech entrepreneurs, where academia’s research capabilities and the industry’s market expertise are important drivers of innovation and economic growth.
This partnership project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) within the framework of the Special Initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition” via sequa gGmbH.
Author: Emmanuel AKOMEA/Kafui Amanfu
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