The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University has successfully hosted a technology entrepreneurship training programme presented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and funded internationally by Google. The ‘Accelerating IT Innovation’ (AITI) programme enabled more than 30 engineering and computer science students to develop real-world mobile service start-ups, as well as implement well researched technology and business plans.
The MIT AITI is part of a multidisciplinary group of MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives that promote development in emerging regions by cultivating young technology entrepreneurs. JCSE Director Professor Barry Dwolatzky says that AITI is an inspiring six week intensive incubator programme. ‘As a significant emerging market, South Africa 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 14:00 to 18:00. Student led start-up groups will present their products to an audience of potential investors, mentors, and the technology entrepreneurship community in Johannesburg.
Anyone wanting to attend can contact student leader Mahlet Woldeyes on [email protected] or the JCSE on 27 11 717 6390.