SA innovation entrepreneurs win big
Innovative entrepreneurs took centre stage when the winners of the 2018 Technology Innovation Agency’s Global Cleantech Innovation Programme of South Africa (GCIP-SA) were announced at a gala event at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 11 January 2019.
Twenty-one finalists in the fields of clean technology, bioprocessing and medical devices had one final chance to showcase their innovations as part of the GCIP-SA – a global initiative that aims to identify and support SMEs and start-ups with innovative solutions – before the winners were announced. Nine finalists competed for top honours in the clean-technology sector, while six innovators competed in the bioprocessing and six in the medical-device sectors.
In the bioprocessing sector, the overall winner was Afrobodies, with Lactease and Get2Natural as the runners-up. The most promising youth-led team was Lactease and Afrobodies was named as the best women-led team. The prize for the innovation with the highest social impact also went to Lactease.
In the clean-technology sector, the overall winner was Inseco, with iWater and Cane Trash Burner as the runners-up. The most promising youth-led team was Inseco and the best women-led team was iWater. The social-impact award went to Lusec Sanitation Solutions.
In the medical devices sector, the overall winner was Impulse Biomedical for the Easy Squeezy. Impulse Biomedical was also announced as one of the two runner-up teams for the Zibipen, with Genetic Research & Innovative Diagnostics as the other runner-up. Impulse Biomedical also picked up the award for the most promising youth-led team for the Easy Squeezy, and the best women-led team was SA Rebuilders. The social-impact award went to PRD Logical Solutions.
Each of the three overall winners received a cash prize of R120 000, as well as an overseas trip to explore markets for their products. The runners-up each received R60 000 in cash and an overseas trip. The special-category winners (best women-led team, most promising youth-led team, and innovation for social impact) received R30 000 each. The finalists who did not receive any of these awards received R20 000 each. The business accelerator programme ran over four months with a total of 44 participants being coached and mentored to fine-tune their products and services and get them investment-ready. The value of the investment in each participant is estimated at R140 000.
For many of the participants the programme was just what they needed to push their innovations in the right direction.
“The whole experience has empowered me and given me confidence to boldly stand up and tell the world about the difference our product will make. The GCIP-SA and TIA have been amazing and winning means we charge forward with even more enthusiasm and validation. It will help with the current phase of production, thus bringing us closer to the much-needed investment of R25 million,” says Benedicta Mahlangu of Afrobodies.
GianCarlo Beukes of Impulse Biotechnology is equally pleased with his win.
“The TIA GCIP-SA programme helped our team to develop a validated and well-thought-through business plan that will potentially help us secure future investment as well as build a successful and impactful business. Our business is now better equipped with the tools, networks and support to execute our vision of making healthcare more accessible and affordable to all.
“We are truly grateful for the opportunity and experience. This programme goes beyond other programmes as they coach you through understanding your business better, which is rare in the accelerator space. This programme should be renamed to ‘The Game Changer’”, he says.
Jack Chennells of Inseco says GCIP-SA has taken his team on an amazing journey of critiquing, contemplating and discovering more about our business and how we operate from both a personal as well as business perspective.
“The mentorship and guidance provided, and the ideas suggested, have allowed us the confidence, understanding and self-belief as we go into our next phase of business growth. Above this, we’ve been linked with incredible people and organisations which gives us immense confidence in the business environment surrounding INSECO as we take on the next phase of our entrepreneurial journey,” he says.
TIA CEO Barlow Manilal explains that the TIA GCIP-SA is part of a global initiative aimed at promoting clean technology innovation and supporting entrepreneurs in growing their SMMEs and start-ups into viable, investment-ready businesses. ‘In South Africa, the programme was incorporated into the TIA on 1 January 2018, after four years as a donor-funded project,’ he said.
Founding partners were the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO – project developer and international implementer), the Global Environment Facility (GEF – funder) and TIA (national implementer and country host). The main knowledge partner of the global programme is the USA-based Cleantech Open.
For more information, please contact
Head: Marketing and Communications
on +27 (0) 12 472 2767, +27 (0) 83 388 3100
or e-mail Seema.Ramnarain@tia.org.za