MTN backs UCT Solution Space with $1.3m

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Leading African mobile operator MTN has signed a partnership with the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business (GSB) that will see the telecoms firm support the school’s Solution Space innovation hub with ZAR15 million (US$1.3 million) over three years.

The partnership between MTN and UCT GSB is aimed at catalysing sustainable innovation in emerging markets, with the partners saying it was built on a “solid platform of shared values of integrity, leadership, learning and a commitment to innovation with real-world impact”.

“Each partner has complementary expertise and skills, so together, their impact on African innovation will be greater, and the solutions emerging as a result of their collaboration will reach further,” said professor Walter Baets, UCT GSB director.

“We are delighted that MTN has decided to make a commitment of this kind. It is an investment in solutions for Africa, by Africa, in Africa.”

The collaboration is looking to create, amongst others, mobile apps and programmes for educational, medical and economic empowerment, while also promoting entrepreneurship and small business growth.

“As Africa’s leading telecommunications brand, MTN is committed to leading the delivery of a bold new digital world, a world where technological development and mobile integration allow for new possibilities, not just for our own customers, but for people and communities across Africa,” said Paul Norman, MTN Group chief human resources and corporate affairs officer.

Sarah-Anne Arnold, MTN Solution Space manager, said the partnership between the two organisations represents a “symbiotic and purposeful venture” into the future.

“MTN already has an extensive footprint in Africa and the GSB has a strong representation of African students at the business school, combined with a reputation for research and academic excellence. So we are combining our strengths for a common purpose, finding solutions to the biggest challenges facing our continent,” she said.

Norman said MTN foresaw Africa’s brightest and most innovative minds collaborating to find new solutions that could grow from test environments into new markets.

“We look forward to elevating the profile of cutting-edge African innovators and entrepreneurs,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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