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As we reported last month, the Johannesburg Centre of Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University is responsible for TechinBraam — a new tech hub that focuses on innovation in the area. Now, the JCSE has been responsible for hosting an entrepreneurship training programme that was presented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and funded internationally by Google.
The programme comes from a multidisciplinary group of MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives that focuses on encouraging tech development for emerging markets. Known as MIT AITI, this initiative involves a six week long incubator programme and included more than thirty engineering and computer science students develop real-world mobile service startups.
Dwolatzky provides further details of the programme and its motives:
The programme develops curriculum materials, software technologies, platforms, and networks that enable undergraduate students in emerging regions to innovate. It often results in the creation of technology start-ups, which is in line with the ethos of the JCSE and our approach to incubator programmes. It also fosters the development of entrepreneurial spirit as well as job creation, which is critical.
JCSE Director and host, Prof Barry Dwolatzky says that: “As a significant emerging market, South African needs programmes like this to not only develop skills, but to encourage young students to consider careers in engineering and technology, or to aspire to start their own business.”
AITI together with local universities such as Wits will offer advanced courses in entrepreneurship and ICTs and has since 2000 seen more than 120 MIT instructors teaching students in twelve different countries.
The course will be at its climax 27 July with a Demo Day. The student-led startup groups will present their products to an audience of potential investors, mentors, and the technology entrepreneurship community in Johannesburg.