The Jo’burg Centre of Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University has successfully hosted an entrepreneurship training programme presented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and funded internationally by Google.
Known as “Accelerating IT Innovation” (AITI), more than 30 engineering and computer science students developed real-world mobile service start-ups as well as implemented well-researched technology and business plans.
The MIT AITI comes from a multidisciplinary group of MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives that promotes development in emerging regions by cultivating young technology entrepreneurs.
JCSE director and host Prof Barry Dwolatzky says that AITI is an inspiring six-week intensive incubator programme.
“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.”
Dwolatzky says that AITI partners with universities such as Wits to offer advanced courses in entrepreneurship and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). These courses are taught by MIT student instructors and have since 2000, sent nearly 120 MIT instructors to teach over 1 500 students in 12 countries worldwide.
“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,” says Dwolatzky.
The course culminates on Saturday 27 July 2013 with a Demo Day at The Wits Club from 14h00 to 18h00. Student-led start-up groups will present their products to an audience of potential investors, mentors, and the technology entrepreneurship community in Johannesburg.