In an era of accelerated industrialisation, nations are heavily burdened by the environmental implications caused by growing cities, increasing population and digital innovations. It is crucial for countries to devise appropriate strategies surrounding issues of waste management, sustainable energy production and providing clean water solutions to a world running out of natural resources. South Africa is no exception to these issues, estimated to produce 108 million tons of waste per year of which just 10% is recycled. The implications for the accumulation of this waste are disastrous for the economy of South Africa and the need for innovative solutions has never been more critical. The synergy between industry, government, academia and research institutions is vital in providing innovative solutions to these concerns.
The Climate Innovation Centre of South Africa (CICSA) which is part of the Green Economy unit at The Innovation Hub, is a partnership with the World Bank’s infoDev and the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s (DBSA) Green Fund. CICSA has been working to provide business development support to start-ups within the energy, water and waste management sectors and has seen to the success of numerous entrepreneurs and businesses which have taken a solutions-driven approach to concerns of the green economy. In the past quarter, the programme has seen to the commercialisation of three start-up companies including Cubic38, Sustain Power and Munch Innovations.
Illustrating CICSA’s goals, Cubic38 is in the final stages of testing their shoe and tire polish made from tyre char. In South Africa, waste includes a stockpile of approximately 100 million used tyres with more being added every year. Unlike other waste, tyres are space-intensive and burning them releases dangerous toxins. Cubic38’s business innovation will see to the recycling of tyres which will be advantageous for the environment, while at the same time provide employment opportunities.
CICSA aims to continue to support the growth of entrepreneurs that have the potential to make significant impact in the green economy. In the last quarter, the Green Economy unit was able to train 54 entrepreneurs and surpass its 2019 annual job creation targets. The next financial quarter looks very bright for CICSA as it aims to reach unprecedented heights and continue the work of making South Africa greener through targeted business support and development.