Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS)
The project aimed to ensure that, in addition to more general activities that support network and capacity building, it will also have some practical outcomes in which innovation activities which are already in progress in the participating countries will be strengthened and enhanced at a typically grass-roots level. SAIS identified and assessed suitable initiatives that are underway, and will then facilitate and enable their adaptation and replication in one or more of the other participating countries.
A corner stone of Finnish aid is to advance an inclusive green economy that promotes decent employment and entrepreneurial activity. SAIS programmes worked together with the public and private sector, the academia and civil society to achieve this. The project purpose of SAIS was to bring together the elements of the systems of innovation in each participating country and to build capacity for implementing product, service and social innovations. This was achieved by: 1. Supporting a knowledge-sharing network for innovation support among the four Participating Institutions and other stakeholders in the four participating countries of Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. In total 134 events were supported with over 6,000 participants. 2. Developing various skills for innovation by providing capacity building at all levels from policy to practice. Nearly 70 short-term thematic training courses were organised across the four participating countries with over 2,000 participants. 3. Management of a transparent grant selection and monitoring worth 900,000 euro for the purpose of adaptation and replication of projects that enhance innovation at grass-root level. Selected projects were: Global Business Labs in Botswana and Namibia; Establishing Technology Transfer Offices in Botswana, Namibia and Zambia; Entrepreneurship training for Women Entrepreneurs in ICT and Technology-Enabled Businesses in Namibia and Mozambique; Open Innovation Regional Solution Exchange Platform in Namibia and Zambia; Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs) in Botswana and Namibia; Demand Driven Incubation Model in mining areas in Botswana and Zambia. 4. Collaboration with SADC secretariat for a sustainable regional innovation system across SADC and launching of SAIF (Southern Africa Innovation Forum) together with SADC secretariat in November 2014 with participation from 10 SADC member states. The overall implementation of SAIS was anchored in four Participating Institutions, one in each participating country with South Africa as a knowledge sharing partner. The Namibia based TA team supported the implementation and overall coordination of the regional aspects of SAIS and collaborated with the four Participating Institutions: Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH), Gaborone; Mozambique ICT Institute (MICTI), Maputo; Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII), Windhoek; National Technology Business Centre, Lusaka. SAIS organised several international and regional study tours and supported participation of some 260 people in regional and international networking and capacity development events through its mobility fund. SAIS Innovation Fund offered opportunity for the four Participating Institutions and their stakeholders to implement short-term projects for solving challenges in their innovation ecosystems. The 25 Innovation Fund projects were funded worth 130,000 euro.