''Established from research by NUL staff and students, some of the products have been developed into prototypes that have already hit the market and need to be nurtured into businesses that can generate income'', she said. Mrs. Moteetee said during the NUL Week, faculties will showcase their various programmes, research work and innovations.
She added that, in an effort to position itself as a premium University in Lesotho, the NUL took a deliberate decision to rate developing industries and private sector through entrepreneurship as one of the main goals of its 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. Mrs. Moteetee explained that the decision was taken because of the high graduate unemployment, which the Head of State and Chancellor of the University, King Letsie III, termed a national crisis.
She said it is in this context that the NUL established the Innovation Hub meant to provide an impetus for job creation in Lesotho by incubating businesses, adding that the opening of the Hub will take place at a time when innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives are taking root at the University.
The Innovation Hub is an optimistic endeavour of NUL that aspires to convert the textbook and laboratory-based knowledge and raw ideas into successful start-ups and blooming businesses.
The Hub is expected to play the role of a bridge between classrooms and the outside world, while the aim is to change the Basotho community from being consumers to producers and ensuring that a Mosotho youth is a job creator than a job seeker. The NUL Innovation Hub will incubate the ideas and products, thereby testing the markets.
Also, The NUL-owned Tloutle Holdings will be a shareholder in these companies to ensure NUL gets its share of the profits. The NUL Intellectual Property Policy will ensure that the money brought by Tloutle is, at least, partially invested into the NUL Innovation Fund. The NUL Innovation Fund will channel the money directly into new ideas and products at the NUL Product Development and Testing Labs and we are back to where we started.
According to the NUL, the Innovation Hub is a facility, presently under construction, that will primarily house incubation activities of the NUL. It is not an incubation hub, but incubation is just a primary part of it. It is an Innovation Hub because its incubation activities are not happening in an island. They are linked, and enhanced by what is happening at a laboratory level. And the incubation activities will, in turn, affect what will happen at mass production level.