Science Park urges government to set up innovation fund
RSTP acting Chief Executive Officer Khethiwe Mhlanga delivering her speech

Science Park urges government to set up innovation fund

Following a donation of E6.3 million by the United Nations Development Programme to the ministry of, The Royal Science and Technology Park has pleaded with the government of Eswatini to establish an innovation fund that would cater for scientific research so that there could be greater output of inventions and innovations in the country.
Speaking during a ceremony where the United Nations Development Programme donated a sum of E6.3 million to the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, RSTP acting Chief Executive Officer Khethiwe Mhlanga said they were optimistic that such fund would be created in the near future. Mhlanga said a fund of this nature would
place the country in a better position to contribute significantly to vision 2022. She said as an institution,
they recognised that there was need to work cooperatively with other institutions in improving RSTP’s services and developing ecosystems. “UNDP, through this project, is contributing towards the enhancement of enterprise development services by adding a loan guarantee which is a unique component that was not available to innovative start-ups before,” said Mhlanga. The acting CEO explained that the primary goal of the of the proposed innovation fund need would be to pilot financial instruments supporting early-stage innovation activities and stimulating research and development with commercial potential in private enterprises. Mhlanga said the innovation fund
would establish an independent governance structure, with a robust international peer review system and a distinguished investment strategy that would include international professionals who are experienced in managing technology firms, scientific research, commercialization, and the investor community. She said innovative businesses required funding to develop prototypes that would be acceptable to the market and thereafter commercialize their products. She said they also needed funding to implement sound business systems and strategies so that they could become competitive and survive in the long term. On the other hand, RSTP will provide
training to 40 shortlisted candidates, using the skills of industry specialists in the areas of business,
innovation as well as renewable energy and waste management. The training is scheduled for two weeks during which candidates will be trained on starting a business, innovation management and sustainable development.

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