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Article: By Rwankore Rose
The project to establish an Agribusiness Incubation Hub (AIH) at BSU aims to enhance the development of entrepreneurial skills for innovative employment opportunities of young university graduates. Specifically, the hub is being established to nurture innovative enterprises from students and ensure that they can succeed in an open and competitive market environment. In this regard, AIH collaborates with partners who can mentor the young entrepreneurs while at the university, as well as those who can build institutional capacity to enable BSU achieve the mission of this project. The PUM senior experts organization in the Netherlands is one of such partners. The PUM expert organization is a volunteer organization in the Netherlands, committed to the sustainable development of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries and emerging markets. The PUM senior experts work with entrepreneurs around the world, to share their knowledge and coaching on a one-on-one basis, through short-term advisory missions. BSU signed an MoU with PUM in February 2019, to gain from PUMs expertise in setting up business incubators. In this two-year arrangement, BSU will benefit from capacity building activities offered by PUM to both staff and students. BSU and PUM will also participate together in activities to engage with SMEs and the business community in the region, as well as the government. The first activity in this collaboration since the signing of the MoU was a Professional Business Coach Training, conducted by Mr. Fred de Boer, a PUM senior expert, at BSU. A total of 16 members of staff were trained between the 17th -21 st June 2019, and awarded certificates. A major component of this training is the Strategic Innovation Scan. Developed and accredited by the Maastricht University, Netherlands, the model empowers a business coach to analyze a start-up and other businesses, and offer relevant advisory services. With such empowerment, BSU Business Coaches are expected to mentor students start-up businesses in the AIH, as well as SMEs in the business community outside BSU.