In celebrating winners in the latest edition of the Gauteng Innovation Competition, the provinces MEC for economic development, Nkosiphendule Kolisile, said competition was developing into an important mechanism for building a culture of innovation.
“This is critical for new enterprise development and creating new opportunities for decent employment creation. The finalists for this year’s competition represent a new generation of entrepreneurs who will lead the economic transformation of our province and country towards a prosperous and inclusive society,” said Kolisile.
eGov Connect was named as the winner of the mobile category of Gauteng Innovation Competition. eGov Connect pulls communication between citizens and government, as well as fault reporting and social media into a unified user experience to enable easy interaction with public officials. Smokeless Coal won the green category for its combination of waste coal, clay and water to produce a smokeless energy source that burns for longer than conventional coals.
The Gauteng Innovation Competition is an annual contest that seeks to foster innovative entrepreneurial ideas to spur growth in the Gauteng economy whilst contributing to job creation and the reduction of poverty. This year, the competition focused on issues that are critical to municipalities.
The competition is run by The Innovation Hub, Africa’s first accredited science and technology park.
Vela Tsotsi was named as second prize winner in the mobile category for its USSD-based crime reporting tool, while Gov + Me took third prize for its use of mobile location information to connect citizens with government information specific to their area of residence.
In the green category, SavvyLoo won the second prize for its low cost, waterless toilet which is easy-to-assemble and clean, presenting a sustainable alternative to prevent water pollution from waterborne sanitation and pit latrines. Handy Power Chargers was named as third prize winner in this category for its kinetic chargers use on laptops, desktops, cell phones, lamps and radios where there is no grid electricity supply.
Over 100 submissions were received by the time entries for the competition closed on 14 November 2012. This was followed by an intensive adjudication process to identify the top 10 submissions in each category. The stringent competition called for innovations that address specific focus areas identified by sector and municipality representatives, and required innovators to complete a draft business plan indicating their expected market and likely investment requirements.
There were specific focus areas within the two themes. The Green Technology theme prioritised entries related to four main areas including Solar Energy, Waste to Energy, Energy Efficiency and Water Management. The Mobile Technology theme prioritised mobile applications that can improve Citizen Safety, Citizen Participation, and Transport and Traffic Management.
The Acting of CEO of Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, Siphiwe Ngwenya “The finalists in each category have responded to specific challenges that affect our society and we expect that these innovations will have a significant impact on service delivery, economic growth and job creation in the future. We congratulate the winners and The Innovation Hub on their success and look forward to seeing these innovations come to market”.
The Innovation Hub CEO, McLean Sibanda, said the Gauteng Innovation Competition attracted a mix of concepts from individuals and small enterprises across the province. “The winners will receive significant support to commercialise their innovations, not only in the form of prize money but also through mentorship, intellectual property advice, and linkages to additional funding sources”, he said.
Previous winners of the first Gauteng Innovation Competition have made significant progress in the development of their innovations and in accessing potential market partners. A mobile railway information service application developed by Mobility, GoMetro, which was a prize winner in last year’s Innovation Competition, has been adopted by MetroRail in the Western Cape and in Gauteng.