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CCDI

CCDI to back seven innovative Cape projects in second round of seed fund

A hydrogen-powered drone that releases lab-bred insects to wipe out pests, a medical device which uses a novel method to treat glaucoma and an innovative method to manufacture oak extract for use in the manufacture of wine and spirits…

These are just some of the seven biotech and agricultural projects that will each receive seed funding of up to R500 000 from the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) in partnership with the Technology Innovation Agency’s (TIA) seed fund and the Western Cape government’s Department of Economic Development.

CCDI executive director Erica Elk said at the announcement that an investment committee made up of experts from various sectors assessed the shortlisted applications in December and January.

The seven projects were selected from 21 shortlisted candidates. A total of 57 applications were made when the application process opened in October last year.

Participants were chosen from 21 shortlisted candidates, following 57 applications

During the CCDI’s first seed fund which ran from 2014 to last year, the non-profit worked with 12 firms, which generated R1.5-million in revenue over the period, created 18 jobs and leveraged an additional R10-million in funding.

Elk said a key lesson from the organisation’s first round was the need to work with individuals’ sectors.

The current round focuses on certain areas identified by both the national and provincial departments as growth sectors. These are: biotech, health, agro-processing and manufacturing.

TIA acting seed fund head Vusi Skosana said the agency’s seed fund is supporting 324 university projects with R142-million and 104 small business projects with R37-million.

He added that the agency is looking to set up a rapid fund in which former seed fund participants will be able to get additional funding approved “within 24 hours” for development and projects costs.

The seven projects to be supported are:

The Optishunt — A medical device to be developed by Daemon McClunan which uses a novel method to treat glaucoma.
Oranet — An innovative method conceived by Woolf Katz to manufacture oak extract for use in the manufacture of wine and spirits.
DNABurn — A cellular molecular biology solution developed by Karim Dhanani of Signal Bioscience to help fight non-communicable diseases.
FlyH2 — A hydrogen-powered drone conceived by Mark van Wyk and Onno Huyser that releases lab-bred insects to wipe out pests.
Micropatch — A self-testing kit for HIV being put together by Incitech which was founded by Loretta Magagula, Dineo Lioma and two other alumni of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.
Suction dissector — A medical dissecting tool for soft tissue developed by Disa Vascular.
SmartBlade — An affordable video laryngoscope developed by Nick Nevin and Caroline Corbett, which uses a smartphone.

Featured image: DL via Flickr (CC 2.0, resized)