UW–Madison and D. Serikbayev East Kazakhstan Technical University: Fostering a Holistic Innovation Ecosystem

EKTU table discussion
EKTU table discussion

UW–Madison coach: Dr. Nhi Le, Principal at Alpha Intelligence Capital fund and UW PhD alumna

Serikbayev East Kazakhstan Technical University (EKTU) team (Öskemen): Alexey Jes*(Director, Technology Commercialization Office), Vladimir Sizintsev, Saken Ordabaev, Zhadyra Konurbayeva (Vice Rector, Science and Innovation) * indicates team leader

Dr. Nhi Le joined the group of UW coaches after the project had commenced, but quickly got up to speed as she shared with the ambitious team from EKTU her unique and valuable perspective both as entrepreneur in a university ecosystem and as investor. At the Almaty workshop, Le (with Richards) and EKTU worked intensely to map out directions and strategies as EKTU continues to work towards its goal of developing an entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem that expands the university’s areas of research expertise beyond the mineral resources-rich East Kazakhstan region. They discussed ways to establish an institutional culture for completing the cycle of innovation, means for advancing fundamental research towards commercialization, and opportunities for student and faculty entrepreneurship. With support of key university leadership in science and innovation, the team is poised to take steps to implement their plans. Le also helped them engage in strategic thinking to sustain their project by building networks outside the university as well as developing internal resources for coaching and mentoring of newly trained entrepreneurship staff.

Le observed, “EKTU’s commitment to innovation is the most clearly demonstrated in the firm institution-wide policies designed to simultaneously incentivize and support  entrepreneurial thinking. From the existing entrepreneurship requirements for undergraduate and graduate student graduation to the planned revisions for faculty tenure promotion, EKTU has a campus-wide cultural commitment to applied learning that’s highly-coveted in the global higher education community.”

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