IEEE Foundation

IEEE Entrepreneurship Hosts Successful Workshop at Wits University, South Africa


IEEE Entrepreneurship Hosts Successful Workshop at Wits University, South Africa

Ken Stauffer and Dr Surya Raghu led a week-long, IEEE Entrepreneurship workshop at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg from July 10th – 15th.

“We had a very successful course last week. There was a moment afterwards where the participants gave some brief feedback, and the reports of their experiences were exceptionally positive,” Adam Pantanowitz, the Wits University organizer, said. “I just wanted to extend a huge and sincere thanks to to IEEE Entrepreneurship, to Ken and to Raghu, for the resources and effort they put in to making this happen.”

Approximately 36 students, graduates, researchers and faculty participated in the intensive workshop. They had to form teams based on an innovative idea of a market-driven solution. Seven teams with four to six members each presented their ideas on the final day to a panel of judges. Pitches included a method of monitoring student tests and exams; mining waste water treatment; a “MineRover” robot; health record digitization and AI; mental health monitoring system for universities; uninterrupted power supply systems; and a software to monitor driving habits to reduce fuel consumption and improve driver safety.  The teams worked very hard during the week to learn the various aspects of taking an idea to market and apply what they learned for their projects.

Pictured below are all the participants, support staff, faculty, and the Dean of Sciences, Prof. Nithaya Chetty and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lynn Morris of Wits University and Dr. Adam Pantonowitz, Director of the Wits Innovation Centre.

One of the participants commented in an email, “Thank you! It was a pleasure to be a part of this successful workshop!”

The 5 judges selected the winning pitch from team Gotcha, an autonomous cheat detection system for both online and offline testing systems.

Congratulations to team “Gotcha” and many thanks to everyone who helped to organize, to support, to sponsor, and to participate in this successful Wits University-IEEE Entrepreneurship Workshop! The workshop prizes were sponsored by IEEE Entrepreneurship, L’Oreal and RS Group.

We also had participation at this workshop from the Afretec, the African Engineering and Technology Network at Carnegie Mellon Africa, a consortium of five African universities funded by MasterCard, to drive inclusive digital growth in Africa. Part of their initiative focuses on teaching entrepreneurship skills across Africa. IEEE Entrepreneurship, Wits University, and Afretec had preliminary discussions about conducting a “train-the-trainer workshop” next year as a force multiplier in driving digital growth in Africa.