As 2017 draws to a close, so too does a very successful first chapter in the journey that is the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme in South Africa. Since its launch in 2014 as a donor-funded project, the GCIP-SA has worked with entrepreneurial teams from across the country, and 102 cleantech entrepreneurs have been directly supported through the Business Accelerator process. The programme was piloted in SA and was followed by the introduction of sister projects in seven other developing countries. As from January 2018, the GCIP-SA will be incorporated into the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and we look forward to that next chapter in our journey. Read more about plans for 2018 here.
Congratulations to all those who participated in the 2017 programme – we are grateful to have been able to share in your growth. As always, entries were strong this year and our winners should be extremely proud of their achievements in such a competitive cohort. Read more about our top performers here.
Although much still remains to be done, the results of ongoing efforts to increase participation by previously under-represented groups amongst our semi-finalists groups have been most encouraging, as reflected in the table below. Our collaboration with eight South African universities as from the beginning of this year also made a significant difference.
We’ve also enjoyed remaining engaged with our alumni, through ongoing mentorship and showcasing opportunities. Accolades continue to accumulate for these brilliant entrepreneurs and this drives awareness of the programme in key communities. Read more here.
The annual gala and awards event was again a highlight this year. In her address, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor congratulated the winners and finalists, whilst emphasising the valuable role that the GCIP-SA programme plays in accelerating commercial opportunities and creating platforms for promotion and funding.
As we begin our next chapter, I must acknowledge the vital roles that our partners and stakeholders have played over the last four years. I would like to thank UNIDO and TIA for the guidance and support provided over the years, the GEF for funding and Cleantech Open for their technical support. Participants in the Accelerator Programme have learnt a great deal from the programmatic approach, the business coaching, the pitching process and the wisdom of those that have surrounded them, from mentors to judges, to fellow participants. Our group of mentors also deserve special mention as do our partners who have shared their knowledge and experience freely.
Our GCIP-SA support team have been outstanding and have contributed to what in our view is a polished and professional experience for all those who have participated in the programme.
In celebration of our collective achievements over the last four years, we have published a commemorative book, which we have made available for download on our website. This e-book marks the end of an era and the beginning of another, and as we develop our strategy for this next phase we invite all private and public organisations and funding institutions that are interested in collaborating with the project and its partners to contact-us at this link.
It remains for me to wish you and your loved ones the very best for a safe and happy festive season. We look forward to connecting with you next year.