Western Cape entrepreneurs develop cutting-edge innovations
A set of Western Cape entrepreneurs have developed cutting-edge innovations which could lead to major advancements in the region’s health and agri processing sectors.
This morning (4 May 2017) the successful applicants of the latest round of the Design Innovation Seed Fund were announced. Each entrepreneur will receive up to R500 000 to develop their inventions.
The fund is jointly funded by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Technology Innovation Agency. It is implemented by the Cape Craft and Design Institute.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, delivered the keynote address at the announcement ceremony this morning. Minister Winde said investing in innovators was one of the best ways to grow the economy.
“Far too many young businesses, and the jobs that would come with them, fall to the wayside due to a lack of finance. We launched this fund three years ago, in collaboration with likeminded partners, to give entrepreneurs from our region the kickstart they need to develop their ideas into reality.
"The winners of this year’s grants prove that the spirit of innovation is alive and well in the Western Cape. In line with Project Khulisa, our economic growth strategy, we targeted agri-processing innovations, as well as health and bio-tech ideas. The number of very good applications we received speaks to the wealth of globally competitive R&D currently being undertaken in our province. The Western Cape has become a hotbed for development. I would like to congratulate this year’s winners, and wish them well as they take their products to the next stage. "
Erica Elk, Executive Director of the CCDI, said that this year the Design Innovation Seed Fund, had a specific focus on assisting ground-breaking South African-developed designs and ideas in four priority areas.
“After a successful first round, where we learnt lots of valuable lessons, we decided that in our second round of funding we didn’t want to just support innovation for its own sake; but rather to align with national and provincial priority sectors that will support economic growth. This round of funding saw a specific focus on the agri-processing, health and bio-tech, and the manufacturing sectors. We had some incredible applications, 57 in total, and we narrowed this down through a thorough due diligence process, to a shortlist of those with the best potential. The sectors this round of the DISF focused on are all key sectors that can make a tremendous difference, not just to our economy and job creation, but also to people’s lives in terms of the medical devices being funded.”
Vusi Skosana, Acting Head of Seed Funds at TIA, said: “CCDI is well aligned to the TIA mandate to support the needs of innovative businesses and to grow the regions expertise in the design sector and thus the partnership with the CCDI is aimed at identifying deserving enterprises and individuals in the technology innovation and design space that need funding to advance their ideas and technologies”
He continued to encourage the successful seed fund recipients, those who would require further technology development funding to start discussion with TIA to know the requirements for the Technology Development Fund.
Justin Coetzee, the founder and CEO of GoMetro, was one of the entrepreneurs who received grant funding during the first round of the Design Innovation Seed Fund in 2015. The funding was used to build and implement a new transport data algorithm and mapping tool called GoMetro Pro - as well being the first company in South Africa to map all minibus taxis in Cape Town in 2015, the intervention created 11 new permanent and temporary jobs at Go Metro. GoMetro as a company also doubled its turnover in one year. Coetzee had the following advice for this year’s applicants: “Invest as much time as possible in working with the Fund team and their network of specialists. The advice and the introductions you will get will put you in good stead for the next few years.”
The criteria included innovation in design and evidence of market potential.
The seven innovations selected for funding:
· OptiShunt by Liqid Medical
Optishunt seeks to prevent blindness caused by glaucoma. The owner, Daemon McClunan said it is the first device to employ a mechanism for controlling pressure in the eye with no inflammation
· Water soluble liquid oak extracts by Oranet
Barrel aging wine provides an array of benefits ranging from colour stability to structure to flavours and aromas. Barrels are manufactured from premium quality French and American oak making the wine industry dependent on a semi renewable resource. This is reflected in the high prices of oak products and has led to the increased use of alternative oak solutions such as oak staves, chips, powders, etc. Oka alternatives can affect the quality of the wine. Oranet is developing a liquid oak extract that will reduce and replace the use of conventional barrels.
· DNABurn by Signal Biotechnology
Signal Biotechnology has identified a new approach to developing nutritional products, and has applied this approach to developing a stimulant free weight loss supplement.
FlyH2 aims to introduce a drone sterile insect technology release system that would combat false coding moths, which is a pest harmful to citrus plantations. False coding moths threaten South Africa’s $1.4bn citrus export market.
· MicroPatch by Incitech
MicroPatch is a one-step transdermal rapid test, meaning it is placed on the skin. It is suitable for both professional and home use. It has been designed to make rapid testing easier and more accessible. All components of the test, including the blood collection mechanism and buffer delivery to the test sample, are integrated and contained in one device. This reduces the chance of user error and increases accuracy. The initial focus market of the MicroPatch is in HIV testing.
· by DISA Vascular
A new type of suction dissector device for the blunt dissection of soft tissue with a novel dissection feature that provides an advantage over competitor devices. Suction Dissector provides suction at the tip to remove blood. This method Reduce time and costs.
· SmartBlade Video Laryngoscope by SmartBlade
Smartblade has developed a guided video laryngoscope, using smartphone technology which allows experienced users to connect to junior users in the field and guide them through the use of the product in real time. The innovation reduces the cost of laryngoscopes significantly.
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government
Physical Address: 142 Long Street, Cape Town
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301