THE SOUTHERN AFRICA INNOVATION SUPPORT PROGRAMME
The Southern African Innovation Support Programme (SAIS) is a regional initiative set up in 2011 to enhance innovation cooperation in Southern Africa by strengthening the national systems. In the first four years (2011-2015) SAIS stimulated regional policymaking on innovation, provided training, created networks and funded projects that piloted new models for innovation support mechanisms. SAIS is in its second phase (2017-2021) and continues to build on previous achievements, funded by governments of Finland, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and the secretariat of the SADC.
SAIS is set to become a platform for innovation actors in the SADC region, operating in the area of early-stage entrepreneurship and inclusive innovation. The regional dimension enhances sharing of experiences and collaboration to meet common challenges such as poverty and unemployment in the region. By building capacity of innovation support organisations to support entrepreneurs through cross-border pilot projects, SAIS will foster linkages between ecosystems and coordinate regional knowledge sharing.
SAIS emphasises concrete and practical innovation activities that are delivered on a programmatic basis, with a basic set of common modalities delivered by local organizations. The approach aims to facilitate in-built learning, scalability and replicability post SAIS. The support from SAIS will be afforded to activities laid out in the form of projects with well defined goals, to be achievedwithin a set period of time with specific activities and resources, such as finances and labour .
SAIS has three main objectives:
INNOVATION IN ENTERPRISE
Improved capacity of enterprises to innovate and to enter new markets with support from innovation support organizations
Improved enabling environment for inclusive innovation activities in the region.
INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR REGIONAL INNOVATION COOPERATION
Improved capacity of innovation support organisations in terms of expertise and delivery to support private sector innovation and enterprise development