Original Research

Invigorating innovation and entrepreneurship: Insights from selected South African and Scandinavian universities

Teboho Pitso
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 11, No 1 | a187 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v11i1.187 | © 2019 Teboho Pitso | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 April 2018 | Published: 28 March 2019

About the author(s)

Teboho Pitso, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


Background: University innovation and entrepreneurship have evolved discretely and struggled with legitimacy, which marginalised them and vitiated their optimal societal impact. However, three recent developments have compelled universities to become innovative and entrepreneurial: workplace demands for creative and innovative graduates, chronic university underfunding and graduate unemployment. Therefore, this study sought to understand how universities in different geographic contexts fostered innovation and entrepreneurship.

Aim: The study aimed to: (1) better understand how innovation and entrepreneurship were fostered in each geographic location, (2) glean lessons for developing a new innovation and entrepreneurship model, (3) develop an integrated innovation and entrepreneurship model.

Methods: The study used semi-structured interviews conducted with 15 innovation and entrepreneurship senior managers drawn from five Scandinavian universities and three South African universities.

Results: Structurally and strategically, the innovation and entrepreneurship units are located outside the core faculty activities: (1) there are no direct linkages between faculty and these units’ activities. (2) Creativity and innovation are not explicitly taught in faculties. (3) Research agendas of faculties and these units are not mutually inclusive.

Conclusion: Faculty, innovation and entrepreneurship activities are not structurally and strategically linked.


Innovation; creativity; entrepreneurship; higher education; commercialisation.


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