At the heart of the Business Development and Innovations strategy is the recognition that South Africa is faced with the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment, and inequality. Therefore, one of the primary directives is to use knowledge-based capital and the innovations that are developed to create opportunities for new businesses to enter the water sector, thereby transforming the sector through inclusivity of women, youth and previously disadvantaged individuals in opportunities of entrepreneurship, research, consultancy, and practice. Knowledge transferred to researchers, consultants and practitioners are fairly well entrenched in various WRC activities such as material development, workshops and conferences. However, support of entrepreneurs and enterprise development support calls for the development of an enterprise development strategy focused on pipeline development in support of the broader ecosystem of partners and sustainable water practices and solutions. In addition, the BD&I team will strive to create programmes and funding with relevant partners to improve technical skills for emerging professionals who work in public sector institutions.
To ensure that the WRC achieves its vision of creating knowledge that positively impacts on the lives of millions of South Africans either directly or indirectly through the water sector and R&D cohort, the Business Development and Innovation KSA has organised to accelerate research, innovation, and human capital development by focusing on the following ﬁve pillars:
Operational efﬁciency and ﬂexibility: Create both internal and external enablers to effectively implement the corporate plan by adopting a model of operational ﬂexibility that allows the organisation to pilot and test opportunities that support the national system of innovation and the water sector
Connectivity: Grow the capabilities of the WRC as a collaborative connector organisation with local, national, and global partners and stimulate and inﬂuence support for the broader ecosystem development, support and alignment
Innovation intelligence & support: Develop demand- driven and relevant innovation service mechanisms to support the acceleration of innovations through the value chain and work with partners to develop a vibrant ecosystem of innovators, entrepreneurs, enterprises, investors, and funders
Partnership: Develop long-term beneﬁcial relationships with strategic traditional and non-traditional partners to complement the WRC mandate on either side of the value chain for strategic water sector outcomes. BD&I will focus on building partnering capabilities across the WRC that are able to cross institutional and sectoral boundaries to achieve systemic impact. It will raise the strategic nature of current partnerships to achieve greater impact in prioritised areas.
Business development: Create long-term value for the WRC and the water sector through the creation of new services, products, programmes, and platforms, which includes the securing of funds and investment for testing innovative R&D solutions at scale.