There is far more to having a functional innovation ecosystem than just supporting the creation of business ventures, Ms Jaci Barnett, an expert from the Oxentia Ltd team and Head of Consulting Services at Oxford University Innovation, told a gathering of academics and professionals involved in entrepreneurship development at South Africa’s universities, last week.

Leading the seminar titled The Importance of Innovation Ecosystems, Ms Barnett (left) outlined a broader picture of innovation ecosystems and the role of entrepreneurship development beyond just starting businesses. This was at the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Programme’s first dedicated attempt at equipping academics and other professionals with strategies to translate research into innovation and commercialisation of products and services. The workshop was funded by the British Council and facilitated by experts from Oxentia Ltd, Oxford’s Global Innovation Consultancy. The workshop aimed to bridge the gap between research, innovation and commercialisation that has, for years, been a matter of concern to South Africa’s higher education institutions.