Samsung & Dtic Celebrate Launch of University of Limpopo Digital Innovation Lab

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Capacity-building through Software Development programme aims to address the scourge of high unemployment in the province


Samsung through its implementation of its Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP) of the Department of Trade, Industry & Competition (Dtic) is celebrating the launch of the University of Limpopo’s (UL) Digital Innovation Lab – the second of its kind since the launch of the landmark EEIP programme. EEIP is a Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Programme (B-BBEE) designed for instances where a multinational company is unable to sell equity in a local subsidiary as per the requirement if the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice. Therefore, Equity Equivalent Investment Programme is established in lieu of direct equity ownership. Samsung’s EEIP commenced in 2019 and one of its focus area is investment in Research and Development especially in previously disadvantaged areas. It is on this basis that Samsung is collaborating with Limpopo Digital Innovation Lab (LDIL) to build software development skills in the rural province of Limpopo, with the ultimate aim of enhancing the prospects of employment or entrepreneurship in the region.



According to an abstract from a study that was conducted in the Capricorn District of Limpopo, with participants from two municipalities: Polokwane and Lepelle-Nkumpi: “Youth unemployment is rife in South Africa, especially in rural communities such as those in the Limpopo province. Young people in many parts of the country are unskilled or semi-skilled; those with tertiary education are in the minority. Many of these young people are therefore not participating actively in the economy of the country. They depend on the government to meet their basic needs”.*


This LDIL therefore aims to address the scourge of high unemployment among black youth through the training of market relevant ICT skills. By empowering 25 unemployed youth in the province with software development skills, this programme will enhance their prospects of employment. This Software Development programme, which runs for 10 months, introduces students to the fundamentals of coding and programming (C&P), coupled with a practical component called digital social innovation, where students can tackle a community problem through digital means.


Lenhle Khoza, B-BBEE and Transformation Manager at Samsung Africa said: “This programme seeks to boost youth employment in the technology sector by empowering them with ICT and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills, while also encouraging them to consider opportunities as entrepreneurs in information and communications technology. As a company, we understand that the shortage of adequately skilled software engineers would hamper the country’s ability to ride the wave of the 4IR and risk being left behind. This is what makes such initiatives so much more critical.”



This software development initiative is one of the four pillars of the already successful R280-million worth Samsung Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP) that was launched in 2019. Fostered under the software development programme, this LDIL is Samsung’s third partnership with the country’s tertiary institutions.


The key objective for this latest partnership is to achieve greater reach in ICT training and development, as well as create employment opportunities for the youth in Limpopo. This programme has, in the last few years – through its partnerships with a tertiary institution in the Western Cape and a university-based incubator in Johannesburg – already achieved its main objectives of youth absorption upon completion of training as well as empowerment of young women in South Africa.


Since inception, Samsung stats have shown that there has already been 434 beneficiaries from these two institutions under this SWD programme and out of these, 51% are female. This is substantiated evidence that Samsung is not only prioritising the challenge of women representation in the ICT sector, but also tackling it successfully. And furthermore, the absorption rate for the Graduate programme in the first two partnerships has been 100% for the graduate internship and for the Post-matric programme, it is sitting at 78%. This is a clear indication that this capacity-building programme has been crafted with youth employment in mind.


According to … Jacob Maphutha. from the Dtic: “Government recognises the role and the journey that Samsung is traversing as part of its commitment to contribute towards the development of the country through its EEIP initiative. We look forward to seeing an impact of this programme in terms of building ICT skills in the region and job creation among the youth. We wish Samsung and UL well in realising such impact.”



Also important to note is how this programme is seeking to address the gap of high-demand software skills as well as facilitate hands-on, real-world experience through creativity and fun in a learning and working environment. Software development skills are highly sought-after in the digital economy, which is why Samsung considers it as an important part of its education initiatives.


Khoza added: “This launch with the University of Limpopo is another opportunity to showcase the successful implementation of our public, private partnerships (PPPs) and how our sustained investment in capacity building in rural and historically disadvantage universities has already created the much-needed jobs for the country’s youth.”


As part of Samsung’s contribution and commitment to youth employment – this programme aims to provide youth from underserve communities an opportunity to gain skills in software development and digital social innovation.


Professor Jesika Singh, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Limpopo said: “The institution is thrilled to collaborate with Samsung on this visionary and beneficial project aimed at addressing the digital divide within our society. The opportunity to partner with our sister University, in tailoring this programme to meet the specific needs of our province and region is an innovative approach to transferring essential skills to our team at UL in the Digital Lab. As a University, we eagerly anticipate the next two years of the project and the future developments at UL.”



Professor Singh also extended the University of Limpopo’s sincere appreciation to Samsung for introducing this innovative project to their institution and for the generous funding that has been provided. Samsung believes that despite the many challenges that face the country’s youth, there is immense potential that can be explored.


The company is convinced that programmes such as these ones can open new doors for previously disadvantaged youth. Importantly, the technology giant is confident that working together with like-minded institutions such as the UL and Dtic, dedicating the necessary resources and time can create endless possibilities for the country’s youth. Samsung therefore remains steadfastly committed to the idea of real empowerment and education through technology that changes lives.

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