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News 
Investing in Young Water Entrepreneurs  
 
2017/06/07 
 

News Headlines 05 June 2050

“South African entrepreneurs take centre stage at the World Responsible Leadership Summit.”

“R17 trillion saved through 20-year Infrastructure Development Plan founded on water sensitive design.”

“From a simple community project in Limpopo South Africa, to providing 60% of the world with drinking water solutions…”

SMME’s drive some of the world’s largest economies. And with constrained resources such as water, those who have the ability to operate across the entrepreneurial and water management boundaries have a competitive edge. Imagine what we can achieve by simply connecting cutting-edge Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) in Water with Entrepreneurship Development. Where unemployment is no longer a growing challenge, but an opportunity to develop new capabilities,  rural and peri-urban economies.

This is our time to not only re-think development models, but to put what we have been contemplating into practice and see what we can learn from it. Imvelisi, a pre-incubation development programme, does just that. Together, partners such as The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Water Research Commission (WRC), The Young Water Professionals Network (YWP-ZA) and GreenMatter, are investing in the development of aspiring entrepreneurs who will be able to cross disciplinary boundaries for more sustainable economic growth.

Having conceptualised Imvelisi with a team of #ChangeCatalysts in 2014, we have learnt so much about the change that R&D can make in the real world. For example, it’s not only about the amount of water we conserve and the species we save, but the value that is created for local communities in the form of expanded household resources, numerous health benefits and even job creation.

We have also realised how important it is to allow networks to engage and connect – our academic partners have learnt as much from engaging with Imvelisi entrepreneurs as the entrepreneurs themselves. Many researchers have walked away with renewed thinking on the importance of their work and where innovation is required. Entrepreneurs have equally developed knowledge networks to draw on to improve their business ideas and offerings. And our Enterprise Development and Incubator partners have realised how nuanced these emerging sectors are and the important role knowledge brokers play to help bridge the ideation and innovation gaps.  In a developing context, such partnerships and networked approaches are critical.

As much as key public and private players need to do more in the pre-incubation space, it does require our youth to:

1.       See possibilities and not be afraid to constructively challenge traditional approaches;

2.       Appreciate the value of agile leadership competencies to help one deal with complexity; and

3.       Take on responsibility for empowering oneself. Be proactive!

Contact : Media Liaison , Adriaan Taljaard  by email: adriaant@wrc.org.za

 

 
     
 
 
June 05, Imvelisi 2017 entrepreneurs hosted by the Water Research Commission in Pretoria.
 
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