Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) School of Business has conducted the 2nd Annual International Business Research Conference.
The conference conducted virtually, brought together over 100 post graduate students, academics, researchers and professionals in Africa drawn from Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.
Running under the theme: Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship-Driven Research for a Dynamic Business Environment, this year’s conference addressed research gaps in several business thematic areas, such as corporate entrepreneurship and management, advances in finance and economics, contemporary accounting and taxation and dynamic business information systems and innovations.
While welcoming participants to the two-day conference on Thursday, September 16, 2021, Principal College of Engineering and Technology, Dr. Hiram Nderitu who officially opened the conference on behalf of the JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, congratulated the participants for coming together to address the gap between, academia and industry, saying it will create a path way for universities to move their innovations from the shelves to the market.
The Vice Chancellor underscored the importance of the conference in community development saying, “the conference provides a treasurable opportunity for researchers, decision makers, policy makers, industry players and experts to share their research experiences and knowledge geared towards offering solutions to various problems that bedevil various sectors.”
In his keynote presentation, Prof. Bitange Ndemo, an economist, urged researchers to embrace digital economies in order to create innovations with potential to create new markets.
Prof. Ndemo said, there are plenty of job opportunities and unexploited markets especially in the era of Covid-19, further advising that predictive analytics could be leveraged to extract critical information from datasets to determine consumer patterns and predict future outcomes and trends which he said, is key to understanding the market patterns in businesses.
He urged researchers to be curious and look at the current pandemic on a wider scope adding that it could be a blessing in disguise.
“If you imagine that every problem has a solution, you will succeed. Opportunities emanate from lifestyle changes,” advised Prof. Ndemo.
Diana Ngui Muchai, another keynote presenter from African Economic Research Consortium, highlighted the gap between policies and academia, stating that universities are critical in supporting evidence based policies in Africa.
“Academia and policies have a clear relation and this is evidenced by increased links between studies being done by academia and policy responses,” said Dr. Muchai.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa, congratulated the School of Business and Entrepreneurship for organizing the conference, which she described as a key event and forum for the dissemination of research findings.
While acknowledging the conference theme for speaking directly to the University’s aspiration to commercialize her innovations, Prof. Abukutsa lauded the conference as a vibrant platform for mentoring young researchers and scholars. She encouraged the conference organizers to ensure the paper presentations are considered for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Agriculture Science and Technology (JAGST).
The Dean, School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Prof. Florence Memba expressed her gratitude to the sponsors of the conference and the participants for coming together to deliberate on mechanisms for bridging the gap between academic research and the research needs of the industry.
Prof. Memba challenged all participants to use the rare opportunity to network and forge meaningful networks which will form the basis of future collaborations.