Posted 3 months ago

The PAULESI CoE in 6 months: A Story of Impact

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Article by

Victor Oyelade

Community Manager, PAULESI Incubation Center, Ibadan.

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The PAULESI Incubation Center of Excellence (PAULESICoE) exists to accelerate the application of research and development, through technology and linkages with the private sector, to drive innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent.

Community members are postgraduate students of the Pan African University of Life and Earth Sciences Including Health and Agriculture (PAULESI) from 30+ African countries.

The Center is committed to Creative Thinking and Collaborative Problem Solving through the facilitation of Design Thinking Workshops, Innovation Challenges, Career Fairs/CV Clinics, Private Sector Meetups, Entrepreneurship Masterclasses and Hackathons. We are passionate about serving as a living lab for prototyping and testing of ideas and innovations that are aimed at driving development on the continent.

In November 2021, we organized a CV Writing and Career clinic, a practical session facilitated by the Director of People (CcHUB) “Lara Aromire” and two other exquisite members of the Human Resource Unit at CcHUB. The workshop was put together to help participants learn globally acceptable guidelines for Excellent CV writing and Acing Job Interviews. Every attendee got resource materials like the presentation slides and templates for CV writing. Members of the Community have been able to apply learnings from the workshop in securing their internship placements across reputable organizations in Africa.

We launched our Afrocentric Innovations Series; a five episode series of events that has been set up to uncover areas in Health, Agriculture, Climate Change, Sports and Drug Development, that need the intervention of research and the attention of budding innovators. Like the saying goes “straight from the horse’s mouth”, we know that the ideas and energy generated during each session would feel different for the audience as they listen to active industry players who aren’t just well-informed on the subject of discussion but are major stakeholders in their respective industry. This is the motivation for the Afrocentric Innovation series.

So far it has hosted Tega Iortim (CEO, Gricd), Ify Ummuna (Co-CEO, Nourishing Africa), Dr Oladapo Adetunji (Core Investigator, Centre for Drug Discovery, Development and Production) and Prof Mubo Sonibare (Head, Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Ibadan).

The year 2021 would not end, until we had conducted our Learning Excursion. Thirty two (32) members of the community with research interests in Health and Environmental Sciences were taken on a learning excursion visit to Recyclepoints (Ebute-Meta, Lagos) and Co-creation HUB (Yaba, Lagos). The participants got exposed to the “Waste Recycling Protocol” at Recyclepoints and attended another session on “Co-creating Viable Solutions in Health and Research” presented by the Design for Health team at Co-creation HUB.

The Design for Health team as a unit is committed to understanding and prioritizing the role of a human-centered approach for developing innovative healthcare solutions.

We recently hosted a Fireside Chat with Bosun Tijani (CEO, CcHUB / iHUB), a fun learning session designed to glean insights on entrepreneurship from one of Africa’s most dynamic corporate leaders and a major player in the innovation ecosystem in Africa. Budding Innovators got to learn of the latest developmental trends on the continent with some insights for the next decade.The participants were enlightened on what it takes to weather the storm as an entrepreneur on the continent.

In Bosun’s words;

You need the right motive for doing business, the right vision for the work you do to stay motivated, there will be challenges but the impact you make on people and the society will keep you going.

When asked on the fate of Agriculture and what role innovators in Africa can play over the next decade, he had this to say:

“Food Security is something Africa can export to the rest of the world going forward, innovation in the use of tech in this regard is extremely attractive”.

It was a light bulb moment for Musa Jaiteh, a student at PAULESI and an aquafarmer based in the Gambia. For young entrepreneurs like him, community events like the Fireside chat are advantageous.

“I started my farm in 2015 and registered my business in 2017 and I own a pond currently. Fish is the most stable food in the Gambia and it is the healthiest source of protein. Since the #FiresideChatwithBosun, I had been asking myself – how can I grow so many fishes in a little space? I found a technology called Recirculating Aquaculture System absent in the Gambia but common in India and China. It utilizes minimal space and water. I will be busying myself with researching further on this technology and seeing how this can be incorporated using local technology here in the Gambia”, he says.

Impact stories, like the successful internship placements and Musa’s testimonials are the reason we are here.

We are all about value-oriented collaborations.

We are all about Pan-Africanism.

We are all about driving development on our continent and we are only just starting!