THE National University of Lesotho (NUL) recently launched an Innovation Hub which will nurture a variety of products by students from different faculties with ideas good enough to add value to the country.
The Innovation Hub was sponsored to the tune of M1 million by Metropolitan Lesotho to secure space and buy equipment that will incubate a range of products to add value to the lives of ordinary citizens.
Developed from research by NUL staff and students, some of the products have been established into prototypes that have already hit the market and need to be nurtured into businesses that can generate income.
During the launch, faculties exhibited their various programmes, research work and innovations during the NUL Week which ran on the 14th and 15th of November 2018.
Vice-Chancellor (VC) Professor Nqosa Mahao, said the NUL had successfully accomplished a number of endeavors and ventures of national significance.
He said the NUL Innovation Hub was only one of the many projects that have emerged from the university adding that a few years back, the institution established a yoghurt factory within its Roma campus, which has successfully produced the Sebabatso yoghurt.
“In January this year, two of the first conferences in the country focusing primarily on science and technology, were successfully organised by the NUL under the names National University of Lesotho Science, Technology and Innovation Expo and Conference and Africa-EU Renewable Energy Research and Innovation Symposium (RERIS-2018),” Prof Mahao said.
He noted that last year, the NUL launched the Energy Research Centre and the Water Institute while more recently, it launched the NUL Innovation Fund or NULIF, an online portal to collect donations and funding from level headed Basotho, as well as from donors and friends from elsewhere, who wish to support the efforts undertaken by the University.
Prof Mahao further revealed that the NUL was on track to establish a school of engineering and also the NUL-LNDC Industrial Park in Roma, where the corporation will provide funding for the establishment of 10 factories that will produce the products which were incubated in the Innovation Hub on a commercial scale.
Metropolitan’s managing director, Nkau Matete, said metropolitan was proud to have invested M1 million in the innovation hub.
He said they donated the money in 2017 November after realising the great idea which NUL students had but failed to formulate because of lack of resources
Mr Matete said the Innovation Hub boasts of a number of practical innovations developed within the university for the betterment of Basotho.
“Our investment in the NUL is one of our many corporate social responsibilities and apart from NUL partners in business, they also find it important to invest in projects which will sustain the lives of Basotho and to develop sustainable projects which will in future provide jobs.”
Metropolitan head of brand and marketing, Tsokolo Makeka, said they were proud to be a pioneering corporate who has seen the need for innovation to reach its full potential to open up present and future opportunities.
“The relationship between academic institutions and business is key in the social, economic and indeed political development of our country. We look forward to further developments within the Innovation Hub and are proud to be the guiding light for other organisations to follow,” Makeka said.