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GCIP awards SMEs for enviro solutions

GCIP awards SMEs for enviro solutions

Oct 18, 2014

Johannesburg 16 October 2014: The 2014 Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs (GCIP) in South Africa Awards was held at a gala dinner at Emperors Palace today. Hosts, GCIP South Africa, proudly acknowledged the inventive work of small businesses and start-ups who have worked so hard towards stimulating and intensifying environmental and technological innovation in South Africa.

The event was opened by the interim CEO, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), Professor Rivka Kfir. TIA primarily funds and nurtures South Africa’s technology innovations to support creation of new industries, create sustainable jobs and improve quality of lives.  “We support innovators who develop novel technology solutions that assist in the creation of responsible, low-carbon, and competitive businesses to grow in South Africa. Events such as this one brings attention to the wonderful creativity within the SME Green Economy sector in South Africa,” explains Kfir.

“Enabling dynamic SMEs in developing countries and emerging economies to fully access national and global markets is crucial for job creation, women’s empowerment, innovation, and overall economic development” reinforced the spokesperson of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Mr Robert Novak.

In her keynote address Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi congratulated the incredible efforts of the participants and said: “By combining innovation with key economic, social and environmental imperatives, the programme assists government by not only harnessing the power of our own creativity but to stimulate the growth of SMEs in the Green Economy.”

The GCIP programme is jointly implemented by the TIA and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and is funded by the Global Environment facility (GEF). UNIDO co-ordinates the programme in five other developing countries simultaneously: Armenia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.

The Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa (GCIP-SA) is a national programme that aims to identify and foster small and medium-size enterprises that can address South Africa’s urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges.

First place was awarded to Clear Sky Energy. Founded by Mark Booth, the company developed a medical waste treatment plant which reduces medical waste and emissions by using vortex counter flow combustion chambers, ‘Afterburners’ which have a small footprint and are highly efficient.

Runner-up Desmond Seekola founder of Lightsperse, found a way to provide accurate automated meter reading and billing for water, electricity and carbon gas emissions. Readings are wirelessly transferred from a house or a business to a service provider without human error or intervention. The first prototype has been successfully demonstrated in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Runner-up Paseka Lesolang founder of Water Hygiene Convenience (WHC), created a Leak-Less Valve that stops water from flowing into a cistern at a predetermined level, thus saving wastage. Lesolang is a recipient of the TIA Youth Technology Innovation Fund. Together with the Vaal University of Technology and the University of Johannesburg a pilot of this innovation is currently being rolled out.

Three Special Categories were also awarded: For Most Promising Youth-led Business, 4th Element Group secured the award due to the fact that they are a team that showed a willingness to learn and show passion. They showed that they had made significant progress in identifying their first customer(s), understood how they would sell to them and they had validated their technology. They were represented by Hollo Matlala, also a recipient of the TIA Youth Technology Innovation Fund.

For Most Promising Woman-led Business, led by Megan Verkuil, Capsule Technologies won the award leader for her credibility and passion and her ability to encourage other talented women to showcase themselves in the techno-preneurship space.

The award for Innovation for Social Impact, Watergel and Ceiling in a Can won in this category. They proved to be an ambitious and persistent team, who tackled major issues in local communities and offered new ideas for wide-scale change.

The other finalists were: Mean Sea level (Ocean Wave Technology); My Smart Farm (Cloud management system for farmers); Pennine Energy Innovation (waterless toilet); Solar Incidence (solar water heater); Twerly Street Lights (renewable energy source for street lights).

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