About Regional Connect

About Regional Connect

Regional Connect is the result of a collaborative partnership between the University of Namibia, The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) in South Africa, the National Business Technology Centre (NTBC) in Zambia and the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in Mozambique.  The platform aims to connect stakeholders in the private and public sectors, academia and civil society, facilitating and fast tracking the exchange of solutions and business needs (also called ‘challenges').  SAIS, the Southern African Innovation Support program, is financially supporting this venture.

Open Innovation (OI) offers organisations (public or private), the opportunity employ a different method of developing products and services, using the knowledge and expertise of external partners: from customers/users, suppliers, universities, laboratories, individuals (developers and inventors) to companies from different industries.  Regional Connect supports OI by offering organisations opportunities for cooperation and collaboration, ensuring the availability of ideas for developing new and improved products, services and solutions, as well as possibilities for entering new markets.

Companies around the globe have been using this proven method of solution finding, utilising intermediary platforms (e.g. NineSigma, InnoCentive, Yet2Come etc.) that enables the exchange of technologies and finding appropriate partners for developing specific technologies,. The Regional Connect platform now leverages on this global momentum to bring the benefits of OI to the region.

Private organisations, government agencies, and non-profits can publish “Challenges” on the Regional Connect Open Innovation platform.  “Challenges” are well-articulated descriptions of real business needs that require innovative solutions.  The Regional Connect platform offers the solution seekers with access to what is believed to be the largest innovation database of solution providers in Africa, managed by the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS).

Regional Connect & Open Innovation (watch video)


About the Regional Connect Partners


                                                                                           University of Namibia (UNAM)




The University of Namibia, Regional Connect implementation partner, is a leading public, higher education institution in the country.  With a student population of close to 13,000 students each year, academic programs at the University emanate from eight faculties and two schools. 

The vision of the University of Namibia as the national university is to engage with society in the creation and dissemination of knowledge, through teaching, research and advisory services, and a commitment to lifelong learning; thereby becoming a treasure house of knowledge at the service of national development, and available to all in forms directly relevant to the improvement of the quality of their lives.



                                                    The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS)




The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability is the lead implementation partner for this project and has over the past three years facilitated several successful open innovation platforms. RIIS has extensive experience in the field of innovation management consulting.  Its human capital has more than 20 years of innovation related experiences. RIIS has established a footprint as leader in the provision of Open Innovation services in South Africa and the SADC region. Learn more about RIIS at http://www.riis.co.za.


                                                                                  National Technology Business Centre (NTBC)






The National Technology Business Centre (NTBC) in Zambia, Regional Connect knowledge partner, is a corporate body that was created by the Science and Technology Act No. 26 of 1997 and Statutory Instrument No. 136 of 1999 in Zambia. NTBC became operational from 1st April 2002.

NTBC was established with the main objective of linking developed and proven technologies from various local and international sources with the local technology seekers i.e. business community and entrepreneurs, for creation of wealth and employment.


                                                                                                  University Eduardo Mondlane  (UEM)







The University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Mozambique, observing partner, is the oldest and largest university in Mozambique. The UEM is located in Maputo and has about 35 000 students.   The University strives to be an institution of excellence in the context of education, science, culture and technology, educating for life that empowers professionals and assuming responsibilities in the process of innovation and knowledge transfer and sustainable development. UEM also strives for integration and affirmation in the global scientific community and to be an agent and subject to change and transformation of society.


                                                                        Southern African Innovation Support Programme (SAIS)



The Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) programme, funded by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), is a four-year pilot project which seeks to guide innovation in Southern Africa. The programme supports collaboration between the innovation systems of African countries in order to create a positive impact on economic and social development in the region.

The programme harnesses networks, institutions and individuals so as to build capacity to enable product, service and social innovation in the region. Complementing this, the SAIS programme provides a strategic approach to raising funds for innovative projects by using a combination of both local and international sources.


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