Loughborough University London as part of The Southern Africa Innovation Support Program (SAIS)

For the past two years, Loughborough University London has delivered a training programme within the SAIS 2 (Southern Africa Innovation Support Program) in Pretoria, South Africa. The aim of this project is to catalyse new businesses and foster the culture of local and regional entrepreneurship.

The team, led by Professor Mikko Koria, Director of the Institute for Design Innovation and Associate Dean for Enterprise at Loughborough University London, together with colleagues Dr Ida Telalbasic (Institute for Design Innovation) and Dr Roy Meriton (Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation) and colleagues from other UK universities including Dr Seun Kolade, and Dr Karim Ahmed, who have developed a toolkit to serve as the basis for evaluating impact. The Data Collection & Analytics Framework was delivered across five days to 12 participating project coordinators, who will transfer the gained knowledge to their project partners in their local communities in the five participating countries: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.

The Data Collection & Analytics Framework includes a four-step approach to build up the impact case studies as an evidence base to build more innovative policies that enable meaningful product, services, and processes that have tangible impact on citizens, business, ecosystems and society. The four-step approach, delivered by the team, included lectures, practical activities and software training in the following areas:

  1. Ecosystem Mapping;
  2. Interviews and Protocols;
  3. Social Network Analysis using Gephi;
  4. Building Impact Case Studies (short-term and long-term)

The Southern African Innovation Support (SAIS) Program is a regional initiative set up in 2011 by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland whose objective is to improve cooperation amongst innovators in the Southern Africa region by strengthening existing innovation systems and platforms. The second phase (2017-2021) of the program continues to build on previous achievements, bringing into partnership the governments of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and the secretariat of the SADC. SAIS 2 provides grants to projects that seek to pilot, demonstrate and replicate new or improved concepts and prototypes with the users at the market before rolling them out as products, services or processes. The objective is to support entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial operations at the local level, as well as to increase cooperation among innovation support organizations by sharing of practical understanding of the innovation ecosystems operations and activities that assist entrepreneurs across the SADC region. The program has three result areas:

  1. Developing Institutional Capacity for Regional Innovation Cooperation
  2. Scaling Enterprises Through Stronger Innovation Support Organizations
  3. Improved Enabling Environment for Inclusive Innovation Activities in the Region

Further steps and collaboration between SAIS and Loughborough University London include a follow up on the 12 projects that participated in the training through supporting SAIS in developing the evidence base for building impact case studies.

Find out more information about the project here.

Download the toolkit Adobe PDF, 2,556KB.

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 8th in The UK Complete University Guide 2020.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Specialising exclusively in postgraduate-level study, Loughborough University London is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers cutting-edge master’s and PhD degrees, as well as business collaboration, research and enterprise opportunities.

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.