A partnership between the University of Venda (UniVen) and the Limpopo Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) will go a long to help grow the country’s economy and boost SMMEs, according to provincial consular of LCCI Albert Jeleni. The new partnership will see the establishment of well-resourced One-Stop Business Services Centres, business incubation hubs, trade centres, community business centres and skills centres.
A memorandum of understanding was signed by Jeleni and university vice-chancellor Bernard Nthambeleni and Jeleni last week. “We must build a globally competitive region through this partnership and ensure that we provide skills which will also enhance the image of the university,” he said.
“UniVen and the LCCI recognise that industry and academia are two parts of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that can connect to merge the discovery-driven culture of academia and the innovation-driven environment and that fostering such collaboratives is critical for the creation of the knowledge-based economy to enhance commercialisation efforts for South Africa to sustain global competition.”
Jeleni also pointed out that this partnership came after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for South Africans to help forge a new economy in a new global reality, by harnessing the job creation potential of the digital knowledge economy. This was especially important in order to recover the ground that was lost due to the pandemic and to place the economy on a fundamentally different growth trajectory.
“UniVen and the LCCI are committed to cooperating for the purposes of skills and expertise transfer between students, staff and industry experts in terms of exchange programmes, training, career development and knowledge generation in particular with SMMEs and including big industries.” UniVen’s deputy vice-chancellor Corporate Services Robert Martin said that this partnership would be guided by a developmental approach.
“We also have a vital role to play by developing a business that will create opportunities which will be beneficial to our communities,” he said. “Urban-based universities are also what they are today because they partnered with various industries and business.” The first One-Stop Business Services Centre is being set up in Thohoyandou in the Vhembe District.
It will include business advisory services, legal services and access to capital. It is set to be launched early next year.