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CCS Seminar: Entrepreneurship through Research - Converting Research into Community Projects

Speaker: Dr Joseph Rudigi Rukema
Date: Wednesday 11 April 2018
Time: 13:00-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room A726, Level 7, Shepstone, Howard College, UKZN

While the role of universities is to transfer knowledge and prepare graduates for the labour market, I argue that this role should also be of shaping the labour market by entrenching new ideas and innovations. My argument is that universities should play the role of creating jobs rather than just creating job seekers. This can be achieved by ensuring that graduates are equipped with necessary knowledge and skills beyond producing academic work. This approach will create an enabling environment for graduates to identify and close the gap between knowledge and socio-economic problems. It means graduates should have first-hand experience in advancing and experimenting with new knowledge produced through research. They should also be equipped to see problems in their communities and be able to come up with viable lasting solutions.
One of the most challenging steps in entrepreneurship is to come up with innovative ideas and research findings that provide the basis for innovation and invention. Browsing Masters and PhD thesis in libraries from different disciplines, my impression is that many of these have the potential of being converted into community and commercial projects. I strongly believe that research findings can be the basis of closing the gap between skills and unemployment among university graduates and solving problems in our communities.
In the last five years, I have been reflecting and sharing with different people on how research could serve as a basis for entrepreneurship in universities. I conducted a series of seminars and developed a strategy on how to convert research into community or commercial projects. The focus of my proposed model is to provide direction on how postgraduate students across all disciplines, can turn their Masters, PhD and research findings to practical use. This model redefines the traditional role of the transmission of the theoretical and practical knowledge in the different fields of study. Here the emphasis is placed on the dimension of applicability and action, and the possibility of transferability to various situations and contexts. It also incorporates the skills, attitudes and other individuals’ aptitudes that provide for competent professional practice derived from research and experimentation.

Speaker Bio:
Dr Joseph Rudigi Rukema is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, Sociology discipline. He obtained his PhD in Social Policy Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, then was awarded a three year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the same university. He is visiting scholar at five universities in Africa. He is also guest editor of “East African Journal of Science and Technology”. While studying towards his Honours in Public Policy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, he worked as a car guard then a security guard. Through his social and economic background he developed a passion for social entrepreneurship and the spirit of community development which culminated in initiating numerous community projects. Out of this passion for entrepreneurship and community development, he founded a community Higher Learning Institution (Sub-Saharan Africa University) (Universite de l’Afrique Sub-Saharienne) which is currently employing 78 people ( Through his teaching he initiated numerous community projects including: Advocacy to Disaster Risk Reduction and Environmental Sustainability (ADRRES), and United against Gender Based-Violence (UAGBV). Rukema has also developed a community self-help banking model, which he hopes to share in near future.

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