Text and photo: Jenni Hopeela
HAMK has implemented an Accelerated Growth for SMEs (AGS) Co-creation and Innovation programme in collaboration with Crazy Town in Finland, University of Zambia (UNZA) and Mulungushi University (MU) in Zambia.
The programme has provided concrete opportunities for co-creation, demonstration of the developed service or product concept and business logic rationale for 14 Zambian SMEs.
Teams consisting of company experts and 50 students from HAMK, UNZA and MU have been designing, testing and developing business concepts in three workshops. Two workshops were organized virtually and 3rd workshop face-to-face from 11th to 13th April 2022 at UNZA campus in Lusaka.
During the 3rd workshop student teams pitched their solutions for companies. One of the companies joining the programme is Mpeni Farms which is launching a new product “Fish soup powder” to the Zambian market. The product has good nutritional content and it is affordable to middle and low-income families.
HAMK students Minnamari Kuusisto and Taru Karlsson collaborated with UNZA and Mulungushi students in a project for Mpeni Farm:
“Meeting and working with the Zambian students in real-life made us realize that our expectations and goals are the same and cultural differences are not on the way of resolving challenges. We noticed how important the collaboration between Zambian students and companies is, and we have now ideated together how this collaboration can be developed.
Our collaboration with Mpeni Farm was very rewarding. In the end of the third workshop we had a chance to visit the farm which was an eye-opening experience. They are launching a fish soup product and we were excited to be part of this project.”
Students doing groupwork
Sydney Chiyaba, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Prime Information Systems Limited, a Software technology, product designer and entrepreneur located in Lusaka has found beneficial to network and share knowledge between academia, industry and students to solve real life problems facing society: “Students are able to develop business concepts that result in prototypes on business issues for companies.”
Innovation workshops have also served as a model for forming an industry-academia collaboration model. “During the final workshop we have started to form a community between businesses and university students and staff in Zambia”, says Teija Lehtonen, Senior Advisory of the HAMK Bioeconomy Researach Unit. “First concrete actions have been planned and the way forward agreed already”. The programme has empowered and encouraged students to develop the interest, knowledge and skills of entrepreneurship.
For more information:
HAMK Bioresearch Unit