The Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry (MITI) has today launched iTATU, a student-centric Industry-Academia Platform that enables tertiary institutions and their students to partner with individual companies for specific product development.

The move will see companies support innovation of new products through access to relatively low-cost human capital and enable students to gain practical, on-demand skills and workplace experience during their formal education thereby strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Kenya.

Speaking in Nairobi during the launch, MITI Principal Secretary Dr Juma Mukhwana said this is an opportunity for corporates to build synergy with students in nurturing an innovation culture at the workplace where solution-oriented initiatives will now become the norm.

“At the cusp of a significant shift in how economies are organised around digital and green transitions, innovation is now more crucial than ever.Emerging countries risk being left behind unless they pay attention to how to create and drive local innovations, and capture the leapfrog opportunities that these new developments present,” he said.

The launch themed ‘Enhancing industry academia partnerships through open innovation’ saw panel discussions from various industry stakeholders take centre stage on emphasising on the value of creating buy-in from both industry and academia.

The platform seeks to drive productivity and increase the participating companies’ competitiveness in the market via development of products.

iTATU will achieve this by facilitating innovation challenges that will be posed by the participating companies and carried out by cross-disciplinary student teams in different colleges.

“…. iTATU is the clinic that Kenyan MSMEs can refer to when they want to tackle challenges. These can be the pain points an organisation is experiencing, wants to see what is on the horizon and thus prepare better for the future, help companies test how they can deploy new technologies, say, Industry 4.0 technologies and also help companies identify talent…,” stated by the iTATU Team Lead, Julius Gatune.

By Rodgers Oduor

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