Sub Regional Workshop in MIP Program, Africa University, From University Research to Intellectual Property, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship

June 10, 2021

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in collaboration with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) held a sub-regional workshop on June 3 and 4, 2021 with support from the Funds-in-Trust (FIT) Japan Industrial Property (IP) Global.

The objective of this workshop was to provide a platform to discuss the opportunities that exist within the IP system for the management of research outcomes, including issues involved in commercialization. Some alumni of the Master’s degree in Intellectual Property (MIP) program shared their post-graduation experiences in commercialization of research outcomes.

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Photo: WIPO

Welcome addresses were delivered by Mr. Bemanya Twebaze, Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Futoshi Yasuda, Director General of Patent Examination Department at the Japan Patent Office (JPO), Professor Peter Mageto, Acting Vice Chancellor of Africa University, and Mr. Marc Sery Kore, Director of the WIPO Division for Africa.

Experienced speakers and some alumni of the MIP program shared their knowledge and experiences relating to the theme of this workshop, “From University Research to IP Commercialization and Entrepreneurship”. The workshop was implemented online, and it was open to public. Valuable stories, deep insights, and encouraging words from speakers were shared with the participants, including the current MIP students and other alumni.

“It is quite important for universities to understand that patenting something does not necessarily mean that it has been commercialized. I think the recognition should go beyond just filing of patents. The universities need to figure out how to commercialize those patents.”

McLean Sibanda, Managing Director, Bigen Global Limited, South Africa

“Bringing a product to the market actually requires a lot of financial input.”

Professor Caroline Ncube, University of Cape Town, South Africa

“Successful entrepreneurship ultimately comes down to three questions: Are you solving a real problem? Do you have a superior solution? Can you sustainably deliver the solution?”

Professor Keo Motaung, Founder, Global Health Biotech (Pty) Ltd, South Africa

“Today’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) would be Tomorrow’s multinational companies.”

Rose Mboya, International Consultant and IP Expert, Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute, Kenya

“In Africa University, we teach innovation and entrepreneurship in the MIP program. We also teach entrepreneurship to undergraduate students in College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance (CBPLG).”

George Mandewo, MIP Progaram Coordinator, Africa University, Zimbabwe

“Though the commercialization  of IP Assets remains a challenge in most African Universities, it is not entirely impossible. Encourage graduate and post-doctoral students to see technology transfer as a potential career goal.”

Eunice Adu Boahen, MIP Administrator, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana

“Africa University alone has over hundreds of MIP alumni, so we have been building human resources on the continent. It is time to provide IP support services to private practitioners and university researchers.”

Sarah Anku, Alumni, MIP Africa Univerisity, Senior Partner, Anku & Anku Company & Commercial Law, Ghana

“We invest in the most promising, cutting-edge, deep-tech startups solving social and environmental challenges. Deep-tech startups that solve deep-issues of the world. We offer the best deep-tech specialized legal support to startups which has full alignment in IP strategy with the business and finance plans.”

Kumamoto Daiki, Growth Manager, Real Tech Fund, Japan

“Universities have to either employ or train staff to manage business, but this requires time and financial resources.”

Professor Jameson Mbale, Alumni, MIP Africa University, Inaugural Director: Directorate of Research, Innovation and Consultancy (DRIC), Copperbelt University, Zambia

Relating information

The program of this workshop:

https://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/details.jsp?meeting_id=63908

MIP Program:

MIP program is jointly offered by WIPO, ARIPO and Africa University with financial assistance from the FIT Japan IP Global. This MIP program addresses the critical shortage of human resources in IP in the Africa region by educating students and young professionals in the field of IP.

The 13th cohort of the MIP program commenced on May 1, 2020 and will conclude on June 14, 2021. Students from 19 different African countries participated in this MIP program. FIT Japan IP Global provided 12 of those with scholarships to support their study.