NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9- “Think. It costs you nothing. It is the only product you can use, and use, and use and nobody will charge you. If you watch DStv, you pay, anything else you pay. But nobody will call you to pay for thinking,” says Industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi.
He was speaking to a group of lecturers, financial experts and students at the University of Nairobi during this year’s Nairobi Innovation week.
The Nairobi Innovation week which takes place annually is aimed at creating a platform for presentation of academic papers, innovation illustrations and case studies focused on research and innovation,
as well as champion policy discussions on innovation in Kenya.
Kirubi has challenged public universities to partner with the private sector and stop depending on government financial support for growth.
“Professors have very good and clear mind. But in many of them, it remains theory. You know theory needs to be converted into action. I personally feel, you have a concentration of very intelligent people in this University, but after very many years, since we were young kids, you are still behaving like a baby relying on your parent to feed you,” he says.
In terms of partnerships with the private sector, Kirubi says it was time to bring on board directors from the business world, apart from lecturers, a move he says will help bring in innovative ideas of creating enterprises.
“Please, let us partner with the private sector so that we come here we give you ideas. Let us get on, let’s use technology, let’s be the home of innovation, because you have such great young people, who are ready and if supported they will innovate, and then you take it to the market,” he says.
The business guru notes that public universities have more than enough human capital who are the students, but laments that for the longest time, most of them graduate, half-baked, with no skills to create jobs.
The students, he argues, could be used as a tool to create huge enterprises at the universities that would not only make money of the institutions but also bring forth successful entrepreneurs.
“All students who graduate here, where do you send them? You send them to the streets to go and look for jobs. And these students are like half-baked bread. A student says, ‘I have a bachelors degree’. What can you do? Nothing. Why don’t we give them technical training, keep them here to do jobs for you under your guidance, create businesses, so that by the time they go out there, they are employable, entrepreneurs who are part of you,” Kirubi challenged the University leadership.
“If you bring me here, I would create billions for you.”