Sunday, October 25, 2009

Strathmore Innovation technology transfer program

SITT Program

Introduction

The Strathmore Innovation & Technology Transfer (SITT) program is an initiative to establish a technology and business incubator within the Faculty of Information Technology at Strathmore University. The long-term objective of the program is to establish a self-sustaining technology and business incubator in Strathmore University. Technology and business incubation programs are designed to accelerate the successful development of innovations and commercialization of technology through an array of support resources and services. The SITT program will focus on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to take advantage of teaching, learning and research outputs from the Faculty of Information Technology. The program will be developed further in FIT with plans to take in resident incubates.

Program Role
• Creating jobs and wealth
• Fostering a community's entrepreneurial climate
• Business creation and retention
• Commercialization of technology
• Building or accelerating growth of local industry clusters
• Identifying potential spin-in or spin off opportunities

Program Functions
• Pre-incubation services
• Business planning
• Forming and registering a company
• Training to develop business skills
• Accounting, legal and other related services
• Harnessing intellectual property for wealth creation
• Help with import/export and/or partner search abroad
• Help with e-business and other aspects of ICT
• Advice on development of new products and services
• Help with raising bank finance, grants, venture capital
• Setting-up and disbursement of incubation venture capital fund
• Facilitation of business angel network
• Advice on recruitment of staff and personnel management

The process of creating and developing businesses can be shown to have four distinct stages:

• Conception: The entrepreneur identifies a market niche/need on the part of a specific target audience and decides to open a company. The focus at this stage is development of a consistent business plan.
• Emerging company: Based on the already elaborated business plan, entrepreneur begins developing the product and/or service to be offered. The objective at this stage is to have at least one prototype of the product to be offered. The legal formalization of the company may also occur in this stage.
• Consolidation: The next stage in the evolutionary process of the company is consolidation in the market in which it has opted to function, with growth in the number of clients.
• Growth: As of the company’s consolidation, the business will seek out new markets and expand its field of activity.
Implementation
• Pre-incubation: The pre-incubation support services are given to would-be entrepreneurs before they launch their businesses. These services may include proactive identification of technologies and would-be entrepreneurs, helping them to develop a business plan, training and advice on forming a company and further development of technologies where necessary.
• Business planning: Business planning services provided by the incubation process can help bridge the market failure in the provision of business support services to the small business market. The services may include help with setting business goals, developing or revamping the business plan, identifying the markets, segmenting the markets, developing a sales and marketing plan, creating a financial plan, etc.
• Financing start-ups: Incubation programs have an important role in bridging the financing gap between the company start-up market and the financial community. Banks and venture capitalists have historically tended to shy away from early-stage companies. Incubation programs play a positive role in addressing market failure in financing start-up companies.
• Networking: The SITT program is presently providing business assistance to start-up and small businesses in an ‘outreach’ and ‘virtual’ incubation basis. In addition the program encourages networking among these companies. This helps business relationships to develop and also leads to informal cross-fertilization of ideas and advice among these companies. Apart from business relationships, networking also helps entrepreneurs to overcome the sense of isolation that is often associated with their activities and can help them lobby for changes in government policies and regulation for better business environment.
• Mentorship: It is envisaged that the SITT incubation program will have a mentorship activity for entrepreneurs. This will be a consulting service expected to blend together the experience of successful entrepreneurs, business school professors, talented MBA students, and the experience of Strathmore University in supporting entrepreneurial businesses.

The benefits of such a service to companies would include:

a) Access to first-class business expertise; b) Business consulting services available when needed for specific problems; c) Professional mentoring to help a company identify its problems and develop solutions; d) Improvements of a company’s business plan;
e) Coaching on business presentations to potential customers, angel investors, financiers and venture capital firms.
Program Implementation
There are at least three key steps in the design and establishment of a business incubation program:
• Development team: The implementation of SITT program will be achieved through a development team consisting of Strathmore university and partners.
• Learning and capacity building: Progressive and on-going learning through virtual and resident incubate companies.
• Research: To involve continuous collection and study of information on innovation ,technology transfer intellectual property and incubation process.

IT entrepreneurs to liaise with SITT administrator .For correspondence /enquiries: pwalela@strathmore.edu (Office next to FIT Helpdesk)

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