The President and Provost, Dr. Patrick Prendergast, who is a Professor of Engineering at Trinity College Dublin urged students to explore the daily challenges of their campus life and turn the ideas into business opportunities. He was speaking on July 23, 2019 at the University of Nairobi.
According to Dr. Prendergast, Ireland has been very successful as a country and enjoy the highest living standards in the world due to the excellent and in-depth research by the institutions of higher learning.
“Everything you have in your textbooks are outcomes of research, universities that want to excel in innovations must lead in research,” he said.
In the recent times, researchers have been urged to work in multidisciplinary environment. Dr. Prendergast observes that such an environment is key to innovation and entrepreneurship. Students who study Environmental Science or Engineering or Biology or Chemistry can work together with those who studied Computer Science to develop solutions to climate change and sustainable development. Students were challenged to develop global relations and get views from other people living in different continents since the world has become a global village.
As regards government policy and governance, the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, challenged the government to provide a conducive environment for small businesses to thrive. He argued that friendly government policy with adequate funding from venture capitalists is key to the growth of entrepreneurship in the country.
University of Nairobi students were further challenged to focus on technology for possible solutions to the challenges of their daily lives. Dr. Pendergast gave an example of some of the challenges students at Trinity College had regarding identification cards. The students developed an ID app, which has since been bought by the big multinational tech giants. The app enabled students to use digital ID cards on their smart phones without necessarily carrying a physical ID card.
“Student experiences while in campus and the challenges you go through on a daily basis can act as sources of business ideas,” he said.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Pendergast, challenged students to create the right innovation pathways. This he explained would be achieved by having students participate in innovation week, innovation contests, take courses in business and get ideas on business financing among other things.
The event was attended by Prof. Madara Ogot, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research Innovation and Enterprises. Also present was Prof. William Ogara, Director, Center for International Programs and Links.