Litha happy to be part of making innovation matter at Innovus
Litha Tywakadi, who recently joined Innovus as Technology Transfer Officer, has a keen interest in African innovation and brings to this division’s talent pool her knowledge and know-how of innovation and intellectual property (IP). She is fluent in English, isiXhosa and isiZulu and can also have great conversations in Sesotho, Setswana and even Mandarin.
Litha says her career in technology transfer started a bit serendipitously, as she didn’t know something like this existed as a career option. After she graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Cape Town, she worked in intellectual property as a patent examiner for three years before moving to a new position as an IP specialist for an incubator.
“Moving to the incubation space gave me more insight into business development and commercialisation, especially for start-ups. This made me realise I enjoy working with people and helping build the innovation pipeline. Technology transfer is the perfect marriage of all the skills and interests I have developed through my career thus far,” says Litha, who is also pursuing a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) part-time with Unisa.
As a relative new career – especially in South Africa – Litha was attracted to technology transfer because of the progress and advancement being made in recent years. “In an environment like the university, you get to see cutting-edge technologies and ideas and are constantly inspired in the work you do. You are always learning,” says Litha, for whom it is incredible to be part of the process where ideas come to life and grow to have amazing impact in the world.
Litha decided to join Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Innovus team because she was excited about the opportunity to be a part of what she describes as “the best technology transfer office on the continent”. “Innovus has a highly respectable portfolio and has achieved a lot in a short amount of time. I knew that coming here and having this opportunity would likely make me better in every aspect of my professional life.”
She believes technology transfer is important for a university like SU because there is so much innovation in the research and work conducted at the university. “Adequately protecting novel ideas and commercialising them creates opportunities to solve local and global problems, improve lives and make South Africa better.”
“I am most excited to be part of and learn from such a distinguished team in the industry and to work with innovative researchers. I look forward to being challenged and to learning more about tech transfer and the university. I am hopeful that my contributions will be meaningful, and I will be part of making Stellenbosch University innovation matter.”
In her spare time, Litha enjoys reading, baking, exploring restaurants and travelling. One of her hobbies is growing and caring for houseplants. “I enjoy collecting rare plants and have a small collection of variegated monsteras.”
Welcome to SU Litha!
Innovus, Stellenbosch University
15 De Beer Street
PO Box 3135
t +27 (0) 21 808 3826