With the efforts of moving Botswana from a resource-based economy towards a knowledge-based and innovative economy Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) held their inaugural innovation day at the massive Botswana Innovation Hub Park in Block 8 on Thursday. Companies will start moving into the park in April 2018 and among those that have already secured their space include Alpha Direct, Concertel and Dimension Data. BIH CEO Alan Boshwaen said the event represented the beginning of greater things that will take place at the innovation hub park even before it finishes. The event was graced by BIH partners from outside the country. Boshwaen said they also did that in order to provide a platform for networking and investment discussions. He said that it is very important to celebrate innovation, conceding that it was very emotional for him to be finally hosting an event at a place that is dubbed the ‘Icon Building’. He said as a wing created by the Government of Botswana they are aware that unemployment is a problem in the country with innovation and technology capable of changing that. “The government has shown great commitment to this vision and people from other parts of Africa when taken through a tour they see the giant step forward that we have taken even though I know that most of the time Batswana overlook that and loose the message,” he said.
Boshwaen encouraged Batswana to focus on the bigger picture and see the journey ahead with the focus of what they want Botswana to be like in the coming years because that transformation is very fundamental. Dr Kekgonne Baipoledi, from the Ministry of Tertiary Education, appreciated the journey BIH has undertaken to be where it is. He said as the ministry they want to bring a wide range of stakeholders together to showcase science, innovation and how Botswana would harvest the fruits of innovation. “It is important to celebrate a fusion of design, innovation and creativity and impart knowledge amongst each other and demonstrate,” he said. When talking in commercialisation of research and innovations, Patrick Krappie from Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in South Africa boldly declared that Batswana should consider themselves blessed for having the Botswana Innovation Hub because there are lot of challenges out there but the local hub is doing all that they can. “The level of seriousness, focus and determination that these guys have when they speak about Botswana on different forums will show that they are really committed about the people of this country. They are not advocates in front of you but are doing so much work,” he said. He said as an institution that provides funds, builds capacity and a culture of innovation, they continue to look for partnerships.