The role of academic entrepreneurs in the process of technology transfer and commercialization: the case of a University of Technology in South Africa

Environmental Economics 6 (4):25-37 (2015)
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in academic entrepreneurship and creation of university spin-off companies has grown in South Africa. This study aims to establish the factors that inspire academics to engage in entrepreneurial activities and to identify the role that academic entrepreneurs play in the process of technology transfer and commercialization at University of Technology (UoT) X. A quantitative research approach is adopted throughout this study. As part of the quantitative research approach, structured questionnaires were directly administered to the respondents to collect the data. Specifically, 52 electronic survey questionnaires were distributed. The sample is drawn from two databases compiled, using UOTX’s internal research records. One of the databases, held a list of those academics who have been active in terms of research as evident in their research outputs – technology creation and transfer. The other database (control group) holds a list of those academics that have not been active. From both groups, a purposive sample is drawn for the survey questionnaire. This study notes that pull factors tend to influence the entrepreneurial activities of academics at UOT X more than push factors and that academics are key players in the process of technology transfer. Thus, this study may assist the university senior management to develop strategies to improve academic entrepreneurship for all faculties. In line with this, it is expected that the primary function of UOT X should be to instil a greater entrepreneurial spirit among the relevant stakeholders.
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