AAU addresses the need for entrepreneurial African Universities

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AAU addresses the need for entrepreneurial African Universities

Systemic Entrepreneurship and the key role of Universities


MzumbeAfrican countries are faced with the problem of youth unemployment – specifically university graduates. The unemployment of university graduates implies a significant waste of investments in higher education. Most university graduates are job seekers and they seldom venture into businesses or employment creation – because many of the universities have been teaching them to be employed rather than being self-employed. The unemployment of university graduates is not only in Africa but is a global problem. Universities are being challenged to respond by becoming entrepreneurial universities with relevant curricula which will prepare graduates to become job creators.

Entrepreneurship is defined by the European Commission report (2012) as a mindset and process to create and develop economic activity by blending risk taking, creativity and or innovation with sound management within a new or an existing organization.

The workshop on sustainable and systemic entrepreneurship held in Tanzania

From the 28th to the 30th of September 2015 the workshop on systemic entrepreneurship was successfully held in Arusha Tanzania by AAU in partnership with the Advancement Academy of Stellenbosch University and Mzumbe University. The workshop targeted the deputy vice chancellors, deans and senior academicians. It was attended by 30 participants from seven countries – Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania.

Experts from the Advancement Academy at Stellenbosch University (South Africa), the Coventry University (United Kingdom) and Mzumbe University (Tanzania) ably facilitated the workshop.

This timely workshop focused on the development of sustainable entrepreneurship. Systemic entrepreneurship is important for universities to enable them transform themselves into entrepreneurial universities. Entrepreneurship is a key enabler for unleashing the full socio-economic development of the African continent. Many of the African universities are striving to equip their graduates with entrepreneurial attributes but need capacity building in this emerging area.

Content of the Workshop

  1. Context, content and processes of systemic entrepreneurship and the higher learning imperative
  2. The models used by entrepreneurial universities
  3. Entrepreneurship in the learning and teaching context
  4. Entrepreneurship case studies from African universities
  5. Systemic entrepreneurship and the mediating role of the universities

Key Recommendations

  1. Universities should develop clear strategies for becoming entrepreneurial universities.
  2. There should be total commitment to entrepreneurial agenda by universities.
  3. There are various models for coordinating and integrating entrepreneurial activities in a university. Universities must select an appropriate model and use it to implement entrepreneurship.
  4. The universities were advised to be always connected to their external environments by having a strong presence in their communities.
  5. The universities should maximize autonomy and individual ownership of initiatives by supporting creative tension.
  6. The universities should identify entrepreneurship champions and support them.
  7. There is a need for universities to create entrepreneurial islands of excellence – from which to learn and scale out.
  8. Universities must ensure free flow of communication within their institutions and also externally.

Submitted by Mrs Yvette Quashie – Human Resources Officer, AAU Secretariat

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