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UKZN academics and students socialising with MIT
students at the CREATE exchange.

The Graduate School of Business and Leadership in partnership with the UNITE programme recently hosted the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States with the goal of utilising multidisciplinary research in entrepreneurship to address complex challenges facing the society.

The project, known as CREATE  (Cultural, Research, Entrepreneurship and Technology Exchange), has grown organically through an informal working group and grounded in extending learning opportunities for students through constructive engagements.

The two-week information sharing session aimed to look at the many synergies and areas of mutual economic development interests shared by the academics.

Dr Stan Hardman, GSB&L Senior Lecturer and Project Manager of the Regional and local economic Development Initiative, pointed out the potential unleashed when different universities, and different schools within the same university, were able to collaborate on special purpose projects.

MIT Centre for Real Estate Lecturer and champion of the linkage, Professor John Kennedy, said that they were looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship between the two academic institutions.

‘We are here to exchange ideas and learn from each other’s experiences and intellects. We need to challenge each other to overcome the hurdles and address issues that we can’t address alone as working with people from the ground up is very important,’ said Kennedy.

To give an overview of the value of partnerships between academic institutions and the municipality when it comes to local economic development, Head of Department – International and Governance Relations at eThekwini Municipality, Mr Eric Apelgren, gave an overview of Durban and the areas of research graduates could look into. These included looking at the expansion of the maritime sector, entrepreneurship and trading.

The students also enjoyed a tour of Warwick Junction, the Dube Trade Port and Cato Manor informal settlement before setting off to work with UKZN students on projects grounded in the community.