The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Professor Sibusiso Moyo was recently awarded the Entrepreneurial Development in Higher Education (EDHE) DVC Award at the EDHE 2021 Awards ceremony held at the Premier Hotel, in Johannesburg on the 19th of November 2021.
Prof Moyo was recognised for facilitating exceptional institutional support for entrepreneurship development in 2021. She won based on three focus areas namely; student entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship development through teaching, learning and/or research and advancing the institution’s positioning as an entrepreneurial university.
Prof Moyo echoed the importance of collaborations and the wealth of materials and ideas shared by the DUT Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Prof Thandwa Zizwe Mthembu, from 2017 to 2021.
“Prof Mthembu continues to drive us in the right direction and my role is to ensure that the team and I understand how to create a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem and ensure we have at least one approved innovative programme that will help train entrepreneurs with real enterprises by ‘design’ and not by ‘accident’, as our Vice-Chancellor and Principal usually says,” said Prof Moyo.
She also thanked all the staff and students who are working in this area, and in particular her team of entrepreneurial leaders led by Prof Keolebogile Motaung, Ms Nontokozo Ngcobo, Ms Nonhlanhla Khanyile, Dr Poppet Pillay and Ms Lana Brady.
“I also thank Prof Colin Thakur, Ms Phumzile Xulu, Dr Themba Msukwini, Mr Zwakele Ngubane, Mr Ebrahim Asmal who just do what needs to be done without complaining and advancing our impact amongst our communities. Working on the boundary between the University and its partners is not easy and resources that have come through various donors/partners have to be used responsibly to ensure there is impact and accountability,” added Prof Moyo.
Professor Moyo advocates for student entrepreneurship not just in words but also in action. At DUT she has been responsible for setting up the equivalent of “Activation Offices” for students in Durban and the Midlands. These Offices target at least 10% of the 33000 students annually based in Durban and in the Midlands. She has with the support of the University Management managed to set up a coordinating structure which brings together all the two focal desks in Durban and Midlands, the Enactus team, the Social Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator funded by SEDA to become the Umbrella Centre for all the Entrepreneurial Entities. This new entity is called Innobiz and it is staged to become the coordinating entity for entrepreneurship activities at the University with centralised services supported by the Technology Transfer and Innovation portfolio. There are a number of initiatives that DUT is participating in 2021, including the British Council Innovation for African Universities (IAU) Programme, with the mission to leverage Carbon Literacy for Youth Employability and Job Creation in Sub-Saharan African (SSA). The Network Partnership comprises the Sheffield Hallam University as the lead UK partner, Durban University of Technology as the lead SSA partner, Innovate Durban as the Ecosystem player, as well as Kisii University in Kenya, and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Nigeria. Prof Sunday Ojo is the Project Manager for this programme.
Her advocacy is not just limited to DUT students but goes beyond to the Youth in the Province who can access co-designed programmes with the University’s quad-helix partners and international partners e.g. the Guangzhou International Sister City University (GISU), which she has been instrumental in ensuring DUT joins and presents opportunities to its network partners. In 2021, she and a team of her colleagues were awarded the GISU grant for Entrepreneurship sponsored by Guangzhou University. The grant for 2021 was awarded to her and the DUT Entrepreneurship Team comprising of Dr Ndivhuho Tshikovhi (Postdoctoral Fellow), Ms Nontokozo Ngcobo (Manager Innobiz), Prof Keolebogile Motaung (Director: Technology Transfer and Innovation) and Dr Xiang Zhou (Guangzhou University, China). She has been recognised internationally for her contributions not just to the South African agenda but international agenda as well. The UNESCO-UNEVOC in Bonn, Germany, calls upon her and her colleagues to share best practice through various TVET Engagements through the UNEVOC network. Her recent appointment in 2021 as the Honorary Dean: School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Tianjin Vocational Institute, China (2021-2023) and as Board Member of Innovate Durban and the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry helps her to use her networks to continue supporting entrepreneurs, especially student start-ups at the University.
Looking at Entrepreneurship development through teaching, learning and/or research, Prof Moyo was instrumental in leading the development of the Student Entrepreneurship Policy – that is aimed at ensuring that every student, by the time they graduate, gets exposed to entrepreneurship. Parallel to this are the initiatives she has been leading, together with her DUT colleagues, on establishing the next generation “Entrepreneurship & Innovative” curriculum through a design thinking process. Furthermore, she has been leading strategic engagements and initiatives that saw staff trained in Project Based Learning since 2019, Design Thinking and practical training on the 3D Experience Platform. Additional training and resources will continue being offered through strategic partnerships and engagements with THENSA for a number of programmes targeted at students and staff respectively. This has inevitably increased the University’s reach to student entrepreneurs who are exposed to online practical learning in entrepreneurship.
In terms of advancing the institution’s positioning as an entrepreneurial University, Prof Moyo indicated that internal collaboration is instrumental. In her engagements, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning, Prof Nokuthula Sibiya, Executive Deans and Directors/Chairs of Research and Innovation areas, the Chief Financial Officer and Procurement Director are seen as critical partners in delivering DUT’s ENVISION2030 and creating an enabling environment. For instance, in 2021, both the CFO and Director of Procurement have been directly engaged in advising and supporting entrepreneurial initiatives that will support our students and youth. The important outcome is where the CFO advocated for the inclusion of training and exposure of entrepreneurial students to Supply Chain Management processes, inclusions and exclusions. This will help DUT students to get skills and understand the governance and policy landscape to survive in the real world outside the University’s protected environment.
“In terms of infrastructure, the DUT Innovation Hub, is destined to become a flagship for DUT once completed. That space will allow entrepreneurs, industry/business partners and other quad-helix partners to come together in driving the University’s innovation and entrepreneurial capacity forward through mutually beneficial engagements. To deliver on these major initiatives requires a number of partners inside and outside the University to make things happen. We have good plans and intentions and now we are required to step-up and move into the implementation phase. Watch the DUT space!” noted Prof Moyo.
Pictured: From Left: Prof Thandwa Zizwe Mthembu: Vice-Chancellor & Principal (DUT); Prof Sibusiso Moyo: Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement (Recipient of EDHE DVC Award 2021); Prof Keolebogile Motaung (Director: Technology Transfer and Innovation); Ms Nontokozo Ngcobo: Manager- innobiz DUT Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Mr Muzi Mhlongo (Biotechnology Student and Finalist Intervarsity Participant in the EDHE 2021 Awards).