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The Gauteng Accelarator Programme Innovation Competitions Finalists Announced

 

Pretoria, Tuesday 03 December 2013 - The Innovation Hub has selected the finalists in each of the Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP) Innovation Competitions for novel technologies and innovations in the ICT, green economy, biosciences and medical sectors. The winners will be announced on Friday 6 December 2013 at a prestigious gala dinner to be held at The Innovation Hub in the City of Tshwane, Pretoria.

The Innovation Hub, Africa’s first internationally accredited science and technology park is a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development.

The GAP Innovation Competitions are an expanded version of what was previously called the Gauteng Innovation Competition and GAP Biosciences programme. This year only, the GAP Innovation Competitions have attracted more than 300 entries and awarded over R3 million in seed funding and incubation support to 13 startups in the ICT, green economy and biotechnology sectors. This year, The Innovation Hub launched four competitions under the GAP umbrella: GAP ICT, GAP Green, GAP Biosciences, and GAP Medical. The GAP Innovation Competitions seek to stimulate the development of innovative ideas with the potential of driving growth in Gauteng whilst contributing to job creation and the alleviating of poverty.

Over 200 submissions were received in this year’s competitions. Following a first round of evaluations to identify semi-finalists, an in-depth pitching sessions to external adjudication panels and business plan evaluations were done to identify the finalists in the four categories. The stringent competitions called for innovations that address specific focus areas identified by sector, and required innovators to outline their expected market and likely investment requirements.

The MEC for the Department of Economic Development in Gauteng, Mr Mxolisi Eric Xayiya, said: “The GAP Innovation Competitions are an important mechanism for promoting innovation and technology advancement within key sectors (of the economy?) whilst building a culture of innovation in Gauteng in line with our Innovation and Knowledge Economy Strategy. This is critical for new enterprise development and creating sustainable employment.

The GGDA Group CEO, Mr Siphiwe Ngwenya commended the finalists for reaching this stage of the competition. “The finalists in each category are addressing a number of development challenges in our region and we expect that these innovations will lead to the emergence of successful new businesses. We congratulate the finalists and The Innovation Hub on their success and wish them all the best for the upcoming awards ceremony”.

According to The Innovation Hub’s CEO, McLean Sibanda, the expanded GAP Innovation Competitions have identified a cohort of high potential technology entrepreneurs in key sectors of the South African economy. “Winners will join The Innovation Hub’s Maxum Business Incubator and receive specialist product development support from the Climate Innovation Centre, mLab and at the new BioPark facility currently under construction. Through a combination of expert mentors, seed funding and word-class infrastructure we hope to see these winners becoming national champions in their sectors. A key issue to be addressed is access to public sector for market entry”.

Winners of previous years’ competitions have made significant progress in the development of their innovations with GoMetro and Sowertech launching transport information mobile applications into the railway and minibus taxi industries respectively; whilst Nabidi Power (kinetic chargers), Bumbokuhle (smokeless coal), Pennine Energy (waterless sanitation) and OneGreen Engineering (waste to energy plant) from the GAP Green competition are working on prototypes and products that they are now looking to scale-up for commercialisation. Chick Energy, the winner of GAP Biosciences secured a follow-up grant of R2 million from the Gauteng Department of Economic Development. Biopesticide is another GAP Bioscience’s recent success story, stemming from University research (University of the Witwatersrand) that has been commercialised. The company produces environmentally friendly biological based pesticides and was nominated to present in Geneva with the assistance of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) where it fared well.

The finalists for this year’s GAP ICT, Green and Medical competitions in no particular order are:

GAP ICT

  •  Daniel Adidwa Tour 2.0
  •  Zuko Mandlakazi: Safe & Sound
  •  Quentin Harley: 3D Printer
  •  Klaas Kabini: Careerpedia
  •  Jaco Marais: Ka-Ching
  •  Lesiba Mokoka: ED Security

GAP Green

  •  Bandile Dlabantu: Entoprotein
  •  Michael Suttner: The Lightie™
  •  Clive Rudman: Aquatech by Miqube
  •  Johan van Wyk: SunGenius – Built-in Solar Oven
  •  Felix Groenewald: Contra Rotating Wind Generator
  •  Billy Hadlow: Mobile Renewable Energy in a 5 Litre Can
  •  Neil du Preez: Mellowcabs

GAP Medical

  •  Gift Mpefu: HTM360
  •  Josh Kassongo: Talent Decoder
  •  Dean Sher: VeinAID
  •  Ashwin Hurribance: Deftologix
  •  Glenn Stein: Aweza Health Care Translation
  •  Dean Hodgskiss: Look.see.do

The finalists for GAP Biosciences are:

  •  Linda Meyer: Mabu Casing Soil
  •  Richard Nyanzi- Synbio beverage –Tshwane University of Technology
  •  Nkululeko Hlongwane: Green Diesel
  •  Valerie Bekker- PɛLBiosciences – University of Witwatersrand
  •  Carl Robert Baumelster- Marti TB Diagnostics – University of Pretoria
  •  Masiyiwa Sakupwanyana- Team Trend in- Mushgree Multi Sci - University of Pretoria
  •  Wendy Ferguson – Brilliant Skin Care
  •  Mesuli Mbanjwa – Spherezymes - CSIR

July 2013 - Words of wisdom from our CEO

A few months ago, I spent some time with the management company’s Executives during which we tried to clarify our role.  We started off by reviewing what Science Parks are and the definition form the IASP us useful as it says “A Science Park is an organisation managed by specialised professionals, whose main aim is to increase the wealth of its community by promoting the culture of innovation and the competitiveness of its associated businesses and knowledge-based institutions. Read the full post here...

To enable these goals to be met, a Science Park:

stimulates and manages the flow of knowledge and technology amongst universities, R&D institutions, companies and markets;

facilitates the creation and growth of innovation based companies through incubation and spin-off processes; and

provides other value-added services together with high quality space and facilities.”

 

Considering the local context of a developing country which has the makings of a developed economy as well, we came to the conclusion that given the various challenges that we face as a country, we needed to focus on enterprise development as the core of what we do, which essentially talks to the ‘facilitate the creation and growth of innovation based companies’.  Accordingly we have rearticulated our role as being “To establish and manage an enabling environment and initiatives to support innovation, enterprise development and human capital development, in targeted sectors, in order to contribute towards growth of Gauteng economy, creation of decent jobs and poverty reduction”.   Some of you are aware that there has been little infrastructure development at The Innovation Hub, which has been due to constrained public funding.  At the same time, we have seen increasing demand for space at The Innovation Hub.  Accordingly, we will be increasing our focus on growing the infrastructure to ensure that we provide high quality spaces and facilities.  Infrastructure growth will be driven by need to support innovation, enterprise development and human capability development. Two infrastructure projects that will be coming up in the next 6 months include Enterprise Building 2 as well as the Biosciences Park facility.  Both these projects will support our stated intention to create dynamic clusters within The Innovation Hub.

 

Before I end please allow me to share with you outcomes of a recent conference I attended in Mexico. Mexico is a very exciting country and has many parallels to the African continent.  The time spent in Mexico made me identify a few very important lessons we can learn from the Mexicans operating and in some cases, starting to build science parks in various parts of Mexico.  The major focus of the conference was on the importance of networks.  One of the speakers, a Dr Aradit Costellanos eloquently stated "being part of a network is like fishing with a net as opposed to using a fishing line".  Networks between parks are important for not only for the park management but the companies in each of the parks.  In that regard, I was reminded that as science park managers, we should be networkers in order to serve our resident companies.  The work of science and technology parks must feed into the socio-economic impact for science parks to remain relevant.   The importance of context also became quite clear, as Mexico is a very big and diverse country.  South African is similar - Gauteng is not Western Cape.  Africa is no different!  The lesson for each of us in Africa is that in developing our science parks and incubators, we must ensure that we understand the local challenges and needs, context will determine the impact of your initiatives.  One of the delegates commented that "A country that is invests in science and technology is investing in its own growth". A key message that echoed throughout the 2 day conference was that science parks are part of a life giving network that expands its members’ knowledge base and serve the needs of resident companies.  It is my humble belief that The Innovation Hub is an important catalyst for innovation and its programmes and activities must contribute to Gauteng’s socio-economic development as well improved government service delivery.  In the coming months, we will be increasing our efforts in providing market access and business development opportunities for companies located within The Innovation Hub, as we realise that our existence is intrinsically linked to the success of the companies in The Innovation Hub.  Please feel free to write to us and share your successes, your struggles as well as ways we can better serve you.  May success follow your dedication and sacrifices. Until next time, let us continue to Innov8!

McLean Sibanda, CEO, The Innovation Hub

Making A Connection: The Innovation Prize For Africa

Making A Connection: The Innovation Prize For Africa

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The Innovation Hub is a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency , an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development Department.

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