UKZN Joins Hands with the City of Durban to Celebrate World IP Day
UKZN InQubate, the University’s Innovation Office, celebrated World Intellectual Property (IP) Day with a variety of other institutions and organisations at the Botanic Gardens in Durban.
The event encouraged high school learners from around the city and students of UKZN, Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) to explore innovation as young entrepreneurs through the occasion’s theme - IP and Youth: Innovation for a Better Future.
The event was driven by eThekwini Municipality, and supported by the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Durban Film Office; the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and the Rajen Reddy Foundation.
In her welcome address, Ms Nonhlanhla Khumalo of the eThekwini Municipality noted how IP Day was an important event for entrepreneurship and urged participants to engage with speakers on their various topics.
Director of UKZN InQubate, Ms Suvina Singh highlighted the importance of the theme in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the July 2021 looting and more recently the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) floods. ‘KZN is eager for the youth to rise up and present innovative solutions to the challenges we are experiencing in the province, South Africa and globally.
‘Consumers and investors want to be associated with purpose-driven businesses that are making a difference and coming up with solutions to environmental and societal problems … that solution lies in innovation which is the key to a better future,’ said Singh.
Panelists from various organisations presented on topics associated with the theme.
Ms Amanda Lotheringen of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) examined the importance of celebrating World IP Day, by highlighting the value of IP rights which are internationally recognised, although territorial, and discussed how IP could be commercialised by a business for monetary gain.
Ms Udi Pillay of Adams & Adams focused on IP, its impact on the youth and how it could best be used to protect brands, ideas and property.
Ms Tshimangadzo Munyai of the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) reviewed the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Act. Ms Omphile Modibela of Afriqinnov8 evaluated disputes between Bonang Matheba and the CSA and AKA and The Braai Show. She noted lessons that could be learned including being clear about IP, who you share information with, what your contract says and protecting what matters.
DUT alumnus and Another Solutions owner, Mr Siphiwe Zuma shared his success story in designing a wheelchair that can be used by disabled persons in rainy weather. Zuma noted how as a disabled person himself it was hard to maneuver around campus on rainy days without getting completely drenched, which is what spurred his innovation. He said entrepreneurship was not an easy journey but he was happy to have come out triumphant with a practical product designed by a disabled person for disabled people.
He shared his dream of supplying students in Higher Education Institutions around the country and encouraged other entrepreneurs to never give up.
Mr Ntando Khuzwayo, a Councillor for eThekwini Municipality, thanked his employers as well the other organisations involved for making the event possible. Khuzwayo encouraged the youth to come forward with innovative ideas to make Durban a smart city.
UKZN students from the Pietermaritzburg campus, Ms Nonto Msomi and Ms Siphosethu Magudulela said they were excited to be part of the World IP Day celebrations and to learn more about IP.
Said Msomi: ‘As a member of Enactus, I learned so much today that I’ll be taking back to implement in our own initiatives.’
Said Magudulela: ‘As an inspiring entrepreneur I gained valuable information from industry professionals from the CIPC and Adams & Adams.’
The Durban Film Office and Madifa Films examined how various forms of IP could be exploited within relationships in an entertaining skit. Filmmaker, Mr Samkelo Dingi, shared his success story and highlighted the importance of knowing and being able to use copyright law to protect an individual’s craft.
A competition was held for registered business owners present at the event with prizes including business support services, a one-year membership to the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as business equipment and machinery.
Words: Hlengiwe Khwela