Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor presented the prizes to the 2017 GCIP-SA top performers at a gala event in Pretoria on 3 November 2017. A grand prize of R120,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles has been awarded to Bandile Dlabantu, whose Mobile Fly Farm was announced as the winning SA cleantech innovation for 2017.
Minister Pandor, Dr Phil Mjwara (DST Director General), Mr Khaled El Mekwad (UNIDO Representative and Head of South Africa Regional Office) and Mr Barlow Manilal (TIA CEO) with the 2017 GCIP-SA Winner Bandile Dlabantu.
Sara Andreotti’s Sharksafe Barrier and Euodia Naanyane-Bouwer’s Gracious Nubian washable and reusable sanitary pads received runners-up prizes of R60,000 each. Andreotti and Naanyane-Bouwer will be joining Dlabantu at the Cleantech Open Global Forum in Los Angeles in January 2018 to compete against other GCIP top performers from across the globe.
There were also three special category winners who each received R20,000 in prize money. In addition to her runner-up prize, Naanyane-Bouwer scooped the innovation for social impact award. The most promising woman-led business award was won by Stephanie Pons for her TouchTap innovation that makes water more easily accessible for disabled persons, especially in rural areas. The award for the most promising youth-led business went to Pontsho Moletsane who invented Nosets™, an automated irrigation system designed to enhance irrigation efficiency for shallow root crop agricultural markets.
Minister Pandor said that the GCIP-SA’s highly successful programmatic approach accelerates commercial opportunities and creates platforms for participants to promote their product offerings and raise funding. “Through its ongoing support of entrepreneurs and innovation in the clean technology space, the Programme will contribute to strengthening the resilience of the complex South African entrepreneurial economy to operate within the global market, and will have measurable positive economic and social benefits for the country.”
The GCIP-SA is a competition-based business accelerator offering participants extensive training and mentoring to help them get their products investment-ready, and connect them to networks of local and international peers as well as potential partners and funders.
The programme is part of a global initiative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). In South Africa, UNIDO has partnered with the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) as the execution and hosting institution. Following a four-year period as a donor-funded initiative, the GCIP-SA will be integrated into TIA as from January 2018.
“The premise is simple: successful innovations, innovators and entrepreneurs create industries, jobs, and contribute to better living conditions, a sustainable environment and economic growth,” said TIA CEO Barlow Manilal.
UNIDO Representative and Head of South Africa Regional Office Khaled El Mekwad concluded: “UNIDO is committed to help in the development of green businesses all over the country, and engage them towards the sustainable management of natural resources. UNIDO looks forward to further successful partnerships of this nature, and expresses its appreciation for the support provided by the South African Government and all stakeholders involved in this success story.”
Minister Pandor (centre front), Dr Phil Mjwara (DST Director General), Mr Khaled El Mekwad (UNIDO Representative and Head of South Africa Regional Office) and Mr Barlow Manilal (TIA CEO) with the 2017 GCIP-SA Finalist teams