Winners of GAP Innovation Competition announced
Ka-Ching (GAP ICT), The Lightie (GAP Green), MARTI TB Diagnostics (GAP Biosciences) and VeinAid (GAP Medical) were named as winners of the Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP) Innovation Competitions, at an awards ceremony held at The Innovation Hub, in Pretoria, on Friday.
The Innovation Hub has selected the winners in each of the GAP Innovation Competitions for novel technologies and innovations in the ICT, green economy, biosciences and medical sectors.
The Innovation Hub, Africa's first internationally accredited science and technology park, is a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development.
In 2013, the GAP Innovation Competitions have attracted more than 200 entries and awarded over R3 million in seed funding and incubation support to 13 start-ups in the ICT, green economy, medical and biotechnology sectors.
The winning entry in the GAP Biosciences competition focuses on a diagnostic method that uses a blood sample (only one drop is required) to detect Tuberculosis at the point of care, regardless of the patient's HIV status or whether the TB infection is inside or outside the lungs.
The winning entry in the GAP (ICT) competition allows users to pay their parking at malls and airports by using their smartphones. In the case of magnetic strip carpark tickets, the user will enter the last four digits of the ticket's unique number in Ka-ching; in the case of a bar code carpark ticket, Ka-ching will scan the ticket. The winning entry in the GAP Green competition is an extremely efficient, patent-pending, test-tube shaped solar-powered "light bulb". The light bulb is a picosolar device, designed to bring affordable lighting in particular to poor and rural households that still use paraffin for their lighting needs.
Winners were announced after a rigorous judging process by industry experts in the four sectors. The stringent competitions called for innovations that address specific focus areas identified by sector, and required innovators to clearly articulate the innovative aspects of their business, good understanding of the target market and likely investment requirements, as well as have a team that can take the innovations forward into the market.
The MEC for the Department of Economic Development in Gauteng, Mxolisi Eric Xayiya, said: "The GAP Innovation Competitions are an important mechanism for promoting innovation and technology advancement within key sectors, while building a culture of innovation in Gauteng in line with our innovation and knowledge economy strategy. This is critical for new enterprise development and creating sustainable employment."
The GGDA Group CEO, Siphiwe Ngwenya, commended the finalists for reaching this stage of the competition. "The finalists in each category are addressing a number of development challenges in our region and we expect that these innovations will lead to the emergence of successful new businesses. We congratulate the winners and The Innovation Hub on their success and wish them all the best in commercialisation of their innovative technologies."
According to The Innovation Hub's CEO, McLean Sibanda, the expanded GAP Innovation Competitions have identified a cohort of high potential technology entrepreneurs in key sectors of the South African economy. "Winners will join The Innovation Hub's Maxum Business Incubator and receive specialist product development support from the Climate Innovation Centre, mLab, and at the new BioPark facility currently under construction. Through a combination of expert mentors, seed funding and word-class infrastructure, we hope to see these winners becoming national champions in their sectors.
The prizes as per category were received by:
* 1st place: R500K seed-funding and incubation: MARTI TB diagnostics
* 2nd place: R300K seed-funding and incubation: Casing Soils
* 3rd place: R150K seed-funding and incubation: Synbo Beverages
* 1st place: R300K cash and seed-funding and incubation: Ka-Ching
* 2nd place: R200K cash , seed-funding and incubation: Safe&Sound
* 3rd place: R150K cash, seed-funding and incubation: Morgan 3D Printer
* 4th place: R100K cash, seed-funding and incubation: Tour 2.0
* 1st place: R300K cash and seed-funding and incubation: The Lightie
* 2nd place: R200K cash, seed-funding and incubation: Entoprotein
* 3rd place: R150K cash, seed-funding and incubation: Contra Rotating Wind Generator
* 4th place: R100K cash, seed-funding and incubation: Mellowcabs
* 1st place: R25K cash, trip to compete in Geneva at the World Innovation Competition, eligibility to apply for seed funding and incubation: VeinAid
* 2nd place: R15K cash , eligibility to apply for seed funding and incubation: Lookseedo
* 3rd place: R10K cash, eligibility to apply for seed funding and incubation: Deftologix
Seed funding will be paid in tranches over the year and it will be tied to agreed milestones. In addition to the cash prize and seed funding, the three winners in each category will receive mentorship and commercialisation support, while the winner in GAP medical will compete in Geneva at the World Innovation Competition.