Integrated Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Biodiversity Plan

University of Venda

Background

The UNIVEN Integrated Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Biodiversity Plan (UIEIBP) gives impetus to the University of Venda’s new strategic plan which seeks to transform the institution to an Entrepreneurial University. In line with the Entrepreneurial University Strategic Thrust objectives and through community engagement-anchored practice, the UIEIBP seeks to position the University for greater impact and serving as the anchor institution within the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve (VBR). The fact that UNIVEN is only one of two universities in the world located in a UNESCO Biosphere offers unique opportunities for entrepreneurial aspirations and contribution to diverse socio-economic development outcomes. The University strives to reposition itself specifically through the UIEIBP. Central to this is collaboration with grassroots communities, local leadership institutions, both private and public sector stakeholders, and international bodies to support national development and transformation objectives. It is envisaged that this will specifically contribute towards reducing unemployment, inequality and poverty rates. 

Taking into account its unique location, UNIVEN can have greater impact if it combines and leverages the already established academic expertise and research capacity to facilitate and drive the attainment of local, regional and national socio-development goals. The UIEIBP is tailored to contribute to the government’s initiatives such as the District Development Model, 

Biodiversity Economy, Operation Phakisa while repositioning UNIVEN as the anchor institution within the VBR. 

Increasingly, there are calls to infuse innovation into inclusive development practice. This calls for localising the key tenets of the Science, Technology and Innovation for Africa 2024, New Framework for Local Economic Development: Creating Innovative Local Economies, 2018- 2028, White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation of 2019, and the Innovation for Local Economic Development Framework of 2019. 

Operational Model

The UIEIBP will be the institution’s primary driver for entrepreneurship, innovation and biodiversity interventions both within and outside the institution. The UIEIBP will draw together already established best practices within the institution such as the SARCHi Chair, Institute for Rural Development, Nutraceutical Research Platform, Vuwani Science Centre, and other individual efforts, with the primary aim to enhance the institutional impact and reposition the institution as an Anchor Institution within the Vhembe Biosphere. 

The UIEIBP will also direct the future research niche areas of the University towards Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Biodiversity Interventions for greater impact and the positioning of the institution as an Anchor Institution in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve.