Fostering a CU/Technology Incubation Centre Partnership
In a deliberate move to further consolidate Covenant University’s effort towards the achievement of its great vision of joining the league of world class universities in ten years, the Covenant University Centre for Research, Innovation and Discovery (CUCRID) convened a meeting with the Technology Incubation Centre (TIC), Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), Abeokuta, to enable the parties to rub minds on adoptable methods for the setting up of a Technology Incubation Centre in the University.
While presenting a paper titled, ‘Establishing a Vibrant Incubation Centre in Tertiary Institutions,’ at the occasion, the Centre Manager, Technology Incubation Centre, Abeokuta, Dr. John Oni, stated that Technology Incubation is an integrated support programme provided by the government, academic institutions and private sectors either individually or in partnership, with the intention of creating and nurturing value-added and technology-based enterprises. He said that business incubators are viewed by many country governments as dynamic tools for fostering new ventures with the macro objective of economic development and job creation.
Dr. Oni noted that research in areas related to business incubators is still in its nascent stages, primarily due to the fact that business incubation as a form of support, did not gain currency until the late 1980's and 1990's in many parts of the world. “The term 'incubator,' he said, “was derived from the fundamental meaning of the term: The artificial nurturing of the chicken’s eggs in order to hatch them faster in a sheltered environment.”
He further explained that the same hatching concept is applied to the incubation of companies; speeding up the establishment of new ventures and increasing their chances of success. “An incubator thus hatches new ideas by providing new ventures with physical and intangible resources,” he stated.
“Incubation is a vital component of an entrepreneurial infrastructure and this concept is moving mainstream with increased interest and awareness of the power of this support mechanism. As business incubators gain ubiquity in various parts of the developed and developing world, incubator models have evolved in sophistication, variety and complexity,” he added.
Dr. Oni listed some of the benefits of technology incubation to the entrepreneur as increasing chances of success, raising credibility, helping to improve skills, creating synergy among client-firms, and facilitating access to mentors, information and seed capital. “The benefits to the government,” he said, “are that it helps to overcome market failures, promotes regional development, generates jobs, incomes and taxes, and becomes a demonstration of the political commitment to small businesses, etc.” He also mentioned that the benefits for educational institutions are that it helps strengthen interactions and collaboration between the knowledge-base and the industries; promotes the commercialisation of research results, and fosters an enabling environment which encourages faculties and students to maximize their potentials and capabilities.
Earlier in his presentation, the Director, Covenant University Centre for Research, Innovation and Discovery, Professor Samuel Wara, pointed out that CU was a growing, dynamic, vision-birthed, vision-driven University, committed to pioneering excellence at the cutting edge of learning. He explained that the institution is driven by the compelling vision of raising a new generation of leaders for the African Continent on the platform of a holistic, human development and integrated learning curriculum, in order to raise ‘Total Men’ who will go out to develop their world.
Professor Wara stressed that in order to direct research towards national and international challenges, there is need to rethink and innovate. He enumerated effective research strategies as, “Re-think research (make it ‘disputive’),’ create new idea streams, innovate to bring changes and to bring in more revenue. Innovate to make a difference and learn to monetize your research output (Products – Tangibles and Intangibles). Connect research, inventions and innovations to consumer needs. Ask, ‘Can they make use of your research?’ Finally, let your research be viable.”
Others at the event were the Dean, College of Business and Social Sciences, Professor Francis Iyoha; Dean, College of Science and Technology, Professor Nicholas Omoregbe; Dean, College of Engineering, Professor John Ndueso; Director, Industry Partnership, Professor Olawole Obembe; Director, Vision 10:2022, Professor Chris Bolu; Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial Development Studies, Dr. Adetayo Adegbuyi; Head of Department of Sociology, Dr. Tayo George; Members of the Covenant University Research Clusters and a member of the Directorate of Media and Corporate Affairs.