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:
The finalists for GAP Biosciences are: