A local innovation center, Science and Advanced Global Innovation Technologies (SAGIT) has come up with a digital platform, the Atlas Convention, which will integrate innovators from the local tertiary institutions with industry players in a quest to modernize the country’s predominantly antiquated industrial base.
The online portal to be operational from the 25th of November will create a platform for innovators to present prototypes of various technological and non-technological innovations which can be adopted by local industrialists and companies to invest in solving challenges they are facing.
Strict enforcement of property rights will be carried out to protect innovators from disenfranchisement.
The convention will also have an external committee to judge innovations which will see the most outstanding of them all get an opportunity to exhibit at the Think Science World Fair form 18-23 April 2020 in Dubai.
This comes on the backdrop of the realization that most local industries are spending massive capital importing latest machinery elsewhere yet local innovators with solutions to industrial challenges were being overlooked.
“This initiative is set to redefine the innovation agenda in Zimbabwe through creation of opportunities for collaboration between industry and academia that transcend conventional organizational boundaries,” SAGIT executive chairman, Tamuka Macheka said.
“The ever-changing business landscape requires formulation of multi-pipeline innovative solution and cross sector bridging concepts with a global perspective. In this regard, Atlas Convention 2019 ushers game changing opportunities for working synergies between industry and academic institutions for continued sustainable science research, innovation and technology development,” he added.
The idea behind the initiative is to commercialize prototypes by getting them through industrial parks to be developed into proper industrial machinery for use in local industries and export markets.
At universities, innovative hubs are being set to spur the industrialization agenda.
“Construction of innovation hubs is at advanced stages in different universities and already completed in others namely University of Zimbabwe, Midlands State University and Harare Institute of Technology. These establishments are designed to foster the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship,” Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Amon Murwira said.
Zimbabwe’s dilapidated industries need massive capital injection to source new machines outside the country at a time the country is facing serious foreign currency shortages.
This could spell more problems for the country with the coming in of the Intra-African Continental Free Trade Area next year once productive sectors remain dysfunctional as analysts predict an influx of foreign products into the market.