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Wits Business School joins SAtion in building a shared ecosystem towards 4IR in South Africa

Wits Business School (WBS) has recently formalised its partnership agreement with SAtion, a social enterprise founded in 2020 to advance economic recovery and social progress in South Africa through digital transformation.

The agreement was signed following a ‘think and do-tank’ held at WBS last week with SAtion, in which various stakeholders, including the CSIR, Wits University and WBS, showcased their work in research, technology, innovation, digitalisation, robotics, machine data and related Fourth Industrial Revolution fields.

SAtion, formed by Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and enabled by management consultancy IQbusiness, grew out of another social enterprise called ‘COBRA’ (Covid-19 Business Rescue Assistance) which, through its 90 partners offering shared value services, had a massive impact on safeguarding the livelihood of small businesses through Covid, and also on those that suffered in the wake of the KZN insurgency in July 2021.

With the support and encouragement of BUSA, Adam Craker, CEO of IQbusiness and COBRA, wasted no time getting SAtion up and running.  Registered as a social enterprise (non-profit company), SAtion aims to bring focus to the 4IR in government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to ensure rapid implementation, outcomes and impact.

“SAtion was formed because we believe that South Africa is not shifting adequately to a new economic paradigm. Our vision is a globally competitive, inclusive, shared economy with the technological capability and production capacity that is driven by people harnessing the 4IR to propel the country forward towards its social and economic goal, instead of falling behind,” says Craker.

At the heart of the initiative is to accelerate South Africa’s digitalisation journey through a strong collaborative effort, and many partners – including anchor technology partner Microsoft plus Tarsus On Demand and Tarsus Distribution have signed on.

Wits Business School was the first academic institution to put its hand up to partner with SAtion. Prof Maurice Radebe, Director and Head of School, feels strongly about mainstreaming and demystifying the digital revolution.

“Technology is going to be the differentiator between poor nations and successful ones and therefore the focus for us as a business school is developing digitally literate and savvy leaders,” he says.

WBS took the lead in 2016 when it established the BCX/WBS Chair in Digital Business, which has seen an exponential growth in the numbers of graduates of its Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s in the field of Digital Business. Other areas of research focus at WBS include healthcare and energy.

“These are massive areas of growth and transformation, which are enabled by 4IR. We are very excited to be a part of building a shared value ecosystem to accelerate digitalisation in our country, support SMMEs, build digital skills, and create real solutions to the barriers in the way of an interconnected and inclusive South Africa.”

“Having like-minded partners is key to enabling change and building a new economy.  We are thrilled to have WBS on board and we are looking forward to collaborating with them to ensure 4IR research and innovation meets the needs of business, industry and SMME development,” concludes Craker.