Preparatory trip to Port Elizabeth
To prepare the planned ICET project, the initiators, Dr. Michael Schuricht, Jantje Halberstadt and Daniel Vinke, travelled to Port Elizabeth in December 2011. There, the concept was presented to and discussed with potential project partners at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and relevant practice partners. Due to the intensive discussions and the personal impressions and experiences gained on site, it was possible to concretize the project plan in a relatively short time and to reconcile the country-specific needs with the goals of the project.
In the first phase of the trip, various chairs and faculties, primarily from the economic and technology-oriented faculties, were visited. Subsequently, selected key topics could be formulated with the identified project partners and common goals for the project could be worked out. The following photo shows the delegation with representatives of the NMMU in front of the university building.
From left to right: Dr. Michael Schuricht (University of Oldenburg), Dr. Margie Cullen (Business School, NMMU), Jantje Halberstadt (University of Oldenburg), Brenda Scholtz (Faculty of Science, NMMU), Daniel Vinke (University of Oldenburg)
Talks were also held with non-university institutions and facilities. In order to be able to better assess the start-up process and the possibilities of start-up support and practice-oriented start-up research on site, local and German founders in South Africa were also interviewed. The visit to the "SEDA Nelson Mandela Bay ICT Incubator" in Port Elizabeth, for example, provided insights into the everyday life of South African founders and helped to acquire a valuable project partner. Together with the Centre Manger of the SEDA, Sipelo Lupondwana, and Prof. Dr. Jean Gryling, Head of Department Computing Sciences of the NMMU, the project team was also able to visit different townships and establish first contacts with founders. Against the background that social start-ups and the investigation how to support the start-up process in such townships should be focused within the project, this was of central importance for the design of the planned measures of the ICET.
The initiators with the founder of a township restaurant for tourists (2nd from right) and the SEDA manager (2nd from left)
The ICET project aims to strengthen the Africa competence of German students and academics. One conclusion that can be drawn from the preparatory trip is that the personal impressions and experiences are particularly valuable! Only through intensive discussions with the local people and visits to different areas can a deeper understanding of the country's special features be developed. This includes the chance to grasp the complexity of problems and thus gain a more reflective approach to, for example, economic and socio-political challenges. At the same time, the broader perspective ensures that the immense potential is recognised.
In the context of various measures within the three core areas of the ICET, students and scientists now have the opportunity to gain this experience themselves. Further information is available here.