Partnership to drive research, business in KZN

A partnership that will enable the exchange of knowledge, skills and resources to drive business is part of a memorandum of understanding between Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

TIKZN is the official investment and trade promotion agency of the KZN provincial government.

In the picture above (left to right) Cedric Gina, TIKZN board member; Sakhile Mpungose, TIKZN board member and UKZN representative; Ina Cronjé, TIKZN Board Chairperson; Professor Harrold Ngalawa, UKZN; and Neville Matjie, TIKZN’s acting Chief Executive Officer.

“Academic institutions are an important stakeholder for us and UKZN is no exception. We seek to enhance and grow our long-standing relationship with UKZN to enhance our research capabilities and support each other in the development of packaged opportunities for investors and traders,” said Neville Matjie, TIKZN acting Chief Executive.

Focus on PMB and the Midlands: Plotting paths to success

“We have an existing relationship with the UKZN Graduate Business School where we are utilising master’s students and advising them on research topics. With this faculty, we’ll be looking at partner research between the university and TIKZN.”

Matjie said they would also be sharing experiences to see how staff collaboration could be enhanced.

Trade and investment strategy

He said a review of the trade and investment strategy for the province is currently being done in partnership with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, under which TIKZN falls, where UKZN is providing academic support.

UKZN is recognised as one of South Africa’s top research-focused universities. It is rated among the top 500 universities in the world and is the second most productive in South Africa in terms of research output.

Bright future for inventor/entrepreneur

“Two elements which characterise the partnership with TIKZN are research, which is core to the university, and teaching and learning. We pride ourselves in being a research led institution and producing cutting-edge research that is relevant to the needs of the economy,” said Professor Harrold Ngalawa of UKZN.

He said the university had a post-doctoral programme which brought in new PHD graduates from around the world to carry out research. Seed funding provided financial support for early career academics to kick-start their research projects and attend conferences.

Knowledge partner

“As an alumnus of UKZN I follow developments of the university with great pride. The partnership takes us a step closer to UKZN as we say ‘we are your knowledge partner in business’. UKZN has the research capacity, scope and breadth of various disciplines to help tap into business,” said Catherine Cronje, TIKZN Board Chairperson.

She said there was great demand for universities to conduct research which would add value to businesses and ultimately benefit the people of KZN.

“We currently host 11 graduates as interns and would like to see the numbers increase in the future. Access to the research of UKZN students will enhance our knowledge and understanding of various subject matters that are core to the nature of our business,” said Sakhile Mpungose, TIKZN board member.