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Mbarara University of Science and Technology (Entrepreneurship Centre by Prov.WVL)

Howest joins an Institutional University Cooperation, lead by the VUB.  The targeted partner institution in Uganda is the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST).
Six subprojects span the backbone of this consortium of which Howest takes the lead in project 5 (P5) with youth employability as its main goal.

Uganda combines underemployment with a far too rapid population growth. Currently, 64% of
the unemployed are aged 18 to 30.  Around 62% to 83% of young people have no formal employment (depending on the source).  Although many youngsters are engaged in the informal economy and in self-employment – 65% according to USAID. These high rates are partly due to a slumbering economic growth, slow labour markets and the country's accelerated population growth rates combined with a significant rural-urban migration.

A main problem to Uganda’s young population is the increasing dependency burden at the
household level. Also, the high rate of youth unemployment is related to the mismatch between the skills
acquired at higher education institutions and the requirements set by the employers in the society
. The
Government of Uganda has responded over the years with a range of initiatives to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation skills development.

Given all the above, we foresee to deploy the next non-exhaustive list of activities.
Leveraging on existing MUST partnerships to strengthen the University's entrepreneurship
and innovation eco-system.
Better equipping the Business Incubation Clinic (BIC) and the Centre for Innovations and
Technology Transfer (CITT).
Investing in the mutual development of training materials and methods for entrepreneurship awareness and
technology transfer.
Conducting entrepreneurship and innovation trainings of MUST staff, students and towards Small and Medium Enterprises (SME's) in the community.

Co-creation of an Entrepeneurship Centre empowered and supported by the Province of West-Vlaanderen.

These activities may -hopefully- contribute to youth employability opportunities by providing enhanced career planning, personal branding, start-up ideation, prototyping and incubation.  We would also contribute significantly to hands-on short courses on entrepreneurship, and in vocational and ICT-related trainings. We aim at activities that bring the university into a closer and continuous interaction with employers, e.g. through organizing and assessing internships, field placements and work placements.

Status: mutual interactions with VLIRUOS IUC-Howest subproject team on youth employability, technical preparations of a 60.000 EUR Entrepreneurship Centre renovation project empowered by the Province of West-Vlaanderen (June 2023)