On Tuesday (15th of November 2022), the PAULESI Incubation Center of Excellence (PAULESI CoE) was officially launched at the University of Ibadan with several young innovators showcasing their solutions and inventions. The Center of Excellence is a novel, Pan-African state-of-the-art facility erected to spur innovation at the Pan African University Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (Including Health and Agriculture), PAULESI. The Center has been envisioned to drive innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship at PAULESI. In addition to this, the center engages academics, the private sector and researchers to enhance the applied research capability of the students. The institute currently hosts MSc and PhD students from across 50 countries in Africa.
The ribbon cutting was led by Prof Kenneth Matengu, President of the Pan African University Council (also, Vice Chancellor, University of Namibia), who in his remarks thanked the African Development Bank (AfDB) for financing the project. He added “Innovation is not just about accessing what is good knowledge but gaining a good understanding of what the problem is and what solutions to take”. He thereafter challenged the innovators to begin to think about sustainability and scaling up their ideas, so that more people on the continent can benefit from their brilliant solutions.
Products showcased by student innovators were Football and Card games for the Blind, Biodegradable sanitary pads for women and an IoT-based waste-bin developed for sorting waste materials. The Deputy Director of PAULESI, Dr Michael Oladunjoye lauded the efforts of the students in coming together in the spirit of Pan-Africanism to develop such unique solutions addressing pressing global needs. He also thanked the AfDB for investing in such a lofty project.
Amongst other activities, in the last one year, the center has facilitated an Innovation Challenge, Expert-led Entrepreneurship Masterclasses, hosted Business Leaders across relevant thematic areas on the continent, facilitated a STEM Showcase that exposed hundreds of secondary school students in Ibadan to 3-D printing, Embedded Systems, Drone flying to mention a few. The PAULESI CoE has also organized learning excursions to reputable organizations such as Recyclepoints, the Design for Health Practice at CcHUB, The University of Ibadan Botanical Garden and more recently the Lekki Conservation Center (reputed to have the longest canopy walk in Africa) with plans underway for more of such learning visits.
Also present at the Launch and Innovation Showcase were Mr. Tunde Onakoya (CEO, Autoclinic), Mr. Seyi Alabi (Co-founder, Crop2Cash) and other private sector stakeholders who thanked the organizers for putting such an event together to showcase innovations coming out of the student community.
One of the attendees, a student who was in the audience “Oluwasegun Ruth” had this to say “this was a really good showcase to attend, I find it really inspiring”. Ably represented at the grand occasion were reputable media partners like Nigerian Tribune, News Agency of Nigeria and Diamond FM.
The PAULESI Incubation Center of Excellence is currently being operationalized by Co-creation Hub – Africa’s largest Innovation Center.