Media Releases

Tshwane (20 November 2014)

In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 and the implementation of Gauteng’s Innovation Strategy to promote innovation; grow intellectual property and support the development of small enterprises within the biosciences, ICT, green economy and medical sectors, The Innovation Hub is pleased to announce the winners of the prestigious Gauteng Accelerator Programme Innovation Competitions for 2014. These awards honour top innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs for exemplary work in the green and health technology sectors; the biosciences; and the information and communication technology (ICT) sectors. The awards ceremony attracted everyone from various dignitaries to tertiary students. Among the dignitaries attending the awards was Ms Tembeka Mhlekwa from the City of Tshwane, Swedish Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Anders Hagelberg, Prof Rivka Kfir, Interim CEO of TIA and Ms Thuli Radebe, CEO of CPSI. 

This year’s GAP Awards introduced a new level of innovation into the competition. The winners walked away with a total of R 2.8 million (cash and seed fund) and will be incubated and provided with other value added services to assist in the commercialisation of the technologies at The Innovation Hub for a year. The prizes and support for the programmes were made possible by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), Pfizer, MSD, Emory University, Smart Living Challenges and TIH. The winners were chosen by adjudication panels consisting of national and international industry experts, entrepreneurs and field specialists. The awards were as follows:

Representing the highest level of work in ICT-based solutions, such as mobile applications, the GAP ICT award winners are:

1st place: Irvan Damons – Carbon Track-R60, 000 cash & R200, 000 seed

2nd place: William Mapham – Vula Eye Care-R45, 000 cash & R150, 000 seed

3rd place:Klaas Dikobe - Smart Plug-R30, 000 cash & R100, 000 seed

4th place: Desmond Mongwe – MoWallet-R15, 000 cash & R50, 000 seed

Addressing socio-economic challenges working on green technologies, the GAP Green award winners are:

1st place:Mpho Mokoena - Ultrasonic biodiesel processing-R60, 000 cash & R240, 000 seed

2nd place:Andre Nel - Green Tower-R40, 000 cash & R160, 000 seed

3rd place:Sizwe Mnamatha – Zuka-R20, 000 cash & R80, 000 seed

4th place:Ming Zhang - Heat Pump Dryer-R10, 000 cash & R40, 000 seed


In recognizing entrepreneurs for their accomplishments and break throughs in the biosciences sector, winners of the GAP Bioscience awards are:

1st place:Lesley Scot, Ela Romanowska and Wendy Stevens – SmartSpot-R500, 000 seed           funding

2nd place:Candice Van Wyk and Francien Botha - CandidaFree Natural-R300, 000 seed funding

3rd place:Rajesh Lalloo, Dusty Gardiner and Busi Mtsweni - OptimusBio (Pty) Ltd-R200, 000 seed funding


In identifying health technology innovations that contribute to the improvement of health care service delivery, the GAP Medical award winners are:

1st place:Shannon Mcmurtrie - Nervitol™ -R200, 000 seed funding

2nd place:Sateesh Isseri - S-Tip-R150,000 seed funding

3rd place:Drew Van Der Riet - Advanced Prosthetics Engineering-R100, 000 seed funding

For information on past competitions, visit:

 Tshwane, 20 October 2014: The Innovation Hub’s OpenIX, was recognized as one of six winners of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP) Inspiring Solutions Programme at the IASP World Conference in Doha, Qatar held on the 20th of October 2014. Open IX, a provincial open innovation exchange won an inaugural award for being the Best Innovation Project. The IASP inaugural awards were awarded to innovation projects that best demonstrated global economic development, entrepreneurship and transfer of knowledge among the 400 IASP members in 70 different countries. IASP is a global network for science parks and areas of innovation; its mandate is to drive growth, internalization and effectiveness of its members. For more info on IASP visit:

In accepting the award, Mr McLean Sibanda, CEO of The Innovation Hub acknowledged, “This award captures the essence of time and could be captured by phrasing a well-known adage, The reason why we stand tall, is because we stand on the shoulders of giants, those who have come before us and those who are to come ahead of us creating a cloud of witness who are cheering and edging us to go on. We humbly accept this vote of confidence; we celebrate and keep on chasing the goal that this is an achievement but it is also a challenge and we must keep on raising the bar.”

Mr Simphiwe Ngwenya, Group CEO of the GDDA confirms, “This award is the concerted effort and tireless visionary leadership from the provincial leadership, guidance of the GDDA and women and men at The Innovation Hub who are mission led, working up every day with an I can do attitude. We all attest to this privileged moment and honour and should not sit on our laurels but aspire to do more to move the country forward.”

Open innovation Exchange (Open IX) is a web based platform similar to existing global open innovation providers such as NineSigma that facilitates collaboration among different players within the innovation ecosystem, however OpenIX fulfills a specific niche by leveraging the benefits of local infrastructure and face-to-face relationships provided by The Innovation Hub community. The platform is based on the open innovation philosophy and principles where on the one hand, “seekers” such as private companies, government and non-profit organisations post challenges, and “solvers” such as innovators or solutions providers respond with solutions to the challenge and on the other hand, innovators in this particular case, SMMEs, universities and individuals showcase their innovative technologies to potential solution seekers.

To date, OpenIX has successfully facilitated a total of 16 challenges and 150 technology offers. 13 of the challenges involving both private companies and public entities have been successfully concluded with more than fifty percent success rate on deals making above an international benchmark of 35%. The majority of respondents to challenges have been SMMEs, giving an average of at least 60%. About 20% of responses to challenges have come from outside South Africa. OpenIX has also published more than 40 Technology Offers on behalf of universities, research institutes and entrepreneurs in South Africa – and now looking to extend this to support in-licensing of technology from other countries to local companies. Information on OpenIX’s previous and open challenges can be accessed on:

“The Innovation Hub invites the whole of Gauteng to celebrate this award by joining our concerted effort to create jobs, enterprises and skills development through innovation, revitalizing the township economy, accelerate biotechnology, ICT, Green industries and smart industries”- Mr Lebogang Maile, MEC of Gauteng Economic and Development.

Launch Of The Gauteng Biopark At The Innovation Hub
13 October 2014


Tshwane. The Innovation Hub is pleased to announce the completion of Phase 1 of its BioPark@Gauteng Facility.

The Innovation Hub Management Company (TIHMC), eGoliBIO Life Sciences Incubator, Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD), Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED), and the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency have been collaborating on the establishment of a Gauteng Biosciences Park (BioPark). In 2011, on the basis of a feasibility study completed in 2009, the Provincial Cabinet resolved that there was a need for a business plan for the establishment of the BioPark at The Innovation Hub.

The Business Plan anticipated the establishment of the BioPark at The Innovation Hub precinct in Pretoria East, Lynnwood, a strategic location between the CSIR and University of Pretoria, which forms a knowledge axis with other science entities such as the National Research Foundation and the Department of Science and Technology.

The BioPark covers three main pillars of this industry namely health; agriculture; industry and the environment. It seeks to agglomerate companies of all sizes to collaborate in development, innovation and commercialization of innovations emanating from the country. This agglomeration would essentially support multi-helix collaboration (government, public research and industry collaboration) vital for innovation and global competitiveness.

The strategic focus areas of the BioPark are to:

  • Implement the Gauteng Biotechnology Strategy as well as the 2013 South Africa Bioeconomy Strategy.
  • Position Gauteng as the gateway of agro processed products to the rest of Africa and the world.
  • Expand local and export supply of biosciences products and services for economic growth and job creation.
  • Accelerate the agglomeration of biosciences small to medium enterprises and big business in Gauteng.
  • Strengthen Tshwane as an anchor for the biosciences cluster in Gauteng.
  • Provide strategic economic infrastructure to facilitate the biosciences cluster development and collaboration by multiple helix partners (government, industry, academia, research)
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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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