Gov’t, private sector, and academia cooperation key 


The Fourth Financial Innovation and Enterprise Conference (FIE2023) has made a clarion call for strong cooperation between academia, industry, and the government to commission tailor-made research activities that drive development and productivity for economic benefit.

Experts at the conference held in Africa-Ghana highlighted that collaboration between government, private sector, and academia is essential for driving life-transformative research.

Such cooperation brings together a range of expertise, resources, and funding to tackle complex research problems that have the potential to change lives.

Founder of Financial Innovation and Enterprise (FIE), cum Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance, Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences, Birmingham City University, UK, Prof. Javed Hussain, mentioned that academic institutions and researchers play a critical role in life-transformative research by driving scientific discovery and innovation.

However, the absence of collaboration has created a situation where some of these research reports sit on shelves in libraries, hence, the need for all players to work hand in hand for targeted impact-driven reports.

“We have research reports sitting in libraries because the outcome is not of interest to industry, we need to embark on research that brings results. We need to create value and produce results that make a change and this is possible when the government, academia, and the private sector can work together,” he said.

Managing Director, Access Bank Ghana PLC, Olumide Olatunji, in a speech read on his behalf at the event held at the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA), underscored the importance of industry-academia collaboration, saying it will enhance skills development and close the industry-academia skills gap.

“Collaboration with academia and the government is crucial to fostering growth and development as it helps in mobilizing needed revenue for huge projects. The private sector has remained a vital player in creating an enabling environment for revenue mobilization for research work and entrepreneurial training in academic institutions,” he said.

Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei-Asare, taking her turn as the guest speaker, said: “Government has a lead role in entrepreneurship but educational institutions have critical roles. As a result, we have been supporting efforts to improve the entrepreneurial skills gaps and bridge the mismatch of skills from the educational institutions. Educational institutions are being encouraged to implement internship programmes that allow students to hone their entrepreneurship skills with the private sector as part of their curricula”.

This, she said, provides mentorship opportunities. Again, she added that research is vital for decision-making, hence the government will continue to partner with academia for more tailored research that will influence policy.

The speakers emphasised that the government should provide funding and resources for scientific research, particularly long-term and fundamental research that would be difficult for the private sector to cover. While government funding is important, it may not always be sufficient to cover all the costs of research, which is where private sector investment can help, they added.

Effective cooperation between these three sectors can accelerate research and bring life-transformative solutions to fruition. It will also foster knowledge-sharing and collaboration between the public and private sectors, unlocking the full potential of research and innovation.

The FIE2023 event was a collaboration between institutions Birmingham City University, the University of Sunderland, and the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE). It was themed: “Promoting Sustainable Enterprises in Developing and Emerging Economies”.

Professor John Kwaku Mensah Mawutor, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Professional Studies, Accra, commenting on the event, said it brings together global experts, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and academics to discuss the latest trends and innovations. He urged industry and the government to support research activities.

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