The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) periodically puts out calls for grants and invites eligible members from member universities including researchers and students, people in the academia and members of the public to apply, as a way of supporting research and development, and training a new generation of scientists for Africa.
From a total of 114 applications that were received by RUFORUM from 15 countries, Rebecca Kalibwani, Head of Department, Agriculture, and Agribusiness, won one of the 31 grants that were awarded for the year 2017/18. The grant worth US$ 50,000 will see the establishment of a “Youth Business Incubation Hub at Bishop Stuart University for Innovative and Diversified Employed Opportunities for Young Graduates,” in a two-year project.
The overall objective of this project will be to establish a youth business incubation hub that will enhance the development of entrepreneurial skills for innovative employment opportunities of young graduates. Specifically, the project will seek to build the capacity of young graduates in smart business skills and enterprise management, nurture and mentor them to develop innovative enterprises that have potential to succeed in an open and competitive market environment. It will enhance the establishment of a partnership with private and public sectors, and facilitate linkages between the innovative enterprises, potential markets, service providers and relevant market information sources.
At least 10 innovative agribusiness enterprises supported with ICTs, will be selected from groups of students, and be given a chance for incubation. The hub will consist of four components; training, enterprise development, partnerships, and a coordinating unit. The businesses will be developed and nurtured in partnership with selected stakeholders from the private sector, public institutions, potential market actors, other incubator specialists, and their incubatees. The business paradigm will consist of bringing these stakeholders to work together at every stage of developing the innovations and maintaining the partnerships even after the innovations hatch, to ensure sustained development of the innovations and market for the products.
At least 10 innovative enterprises are expected to hatch out of the incubation process, with at least 100 students have acquired smart business and entrepreneurial skills training, from across at least 5 departments in the University. More information is available on the following links: https://blog.ruforum.org/2018/02/12/press-release-announcing-32-ruforum-grant-recipients/ and https://ruforum.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/press-release-grantees.pdf