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Aimed at South African inventors and innovators, the Step Up Technology Innovation Competition has finished with aerial vehicle design company SteadiDrone winning the ICT category, and a trip to the U-Start #Bloom showcase 2014 in Milan, Italy.
The business idea competition, sponsored by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), and Sasol’s enterprise development vehicle, Sasol ChemChity, focused on the development of, and support activities for, SMEs and entrepreneurs to help commercialise tech-based businesses that have the potential to stimulate South Africa’s social and economic success in the long-term.
The competition was open to all early-stage innovators working on concepts that had commercial potential, as well as more established “innovation-based” SMMEs that were in need of both financial, and non-financial, support to scale.
In its pilot programme, there were over 400 entrants that were eventually scaled down to 35 finalists. According to Project Director Martin Feinstein, whose company Traction runs the programme, Step-Up ended up being the “idols of innovation” in South Africa with 14 final entries winning out their various categories. Feinstein adds that sponsorship has already been secured from the TIA, so the programme will definitely run again.
Cross-border boutique investment advisory firm, U-Start, sponsored over R100 000 for the ICT winner SteadiDrone, who will be travelling to Milan, Italy next year to participate in the annual International U-Start #Bloom showcase, which promises to provide access to investors, international market networks, and mentorship.
Zachariah George, COO of U-Start South Africa, expressed that:
“U-Start is proud to have joined forces with the leading corporate, VC and technology partners at Step Up and is committed to making sure that the best and brightest innovative ideas in emerging markets get unparalleled access to capital, resources and markets globally.”
Winners of the Step-Up Technology Innovation competition were as follows:
- ICT: Duran and Alexa de Villiers, Steadidrone, designers of aerial vehicles that specialise in advanced aerial photography, HD filming and aerial imaging platforms for the commercial, industrial and film industries.
- Chemicals: Jeremy Klaasen of Kraalbos Bio-Health Products, which is developing a unique, multifunctional cosmetic ingredient that “delivers herbal attributes to personal care products and broad spectrum antimicrobial activity.”
- Mining and manufacturing: Ismael Hassen and Rashaad Musa of CSR-Africa Tank Repairs, who designed Bitu-Box, a mobile storage or transport unit for bulk bitumen with an integrated heating system
- Energy: Bryan Anderson and Jacques Verwey of Delta Steam Systems, which developed the Delta Venturi Steam Trap which removes water from a steam system while keeping the high-pressure steam in the system, without the use of moving parts.
- Health and biotechnology: Drew van der Riet (Advanced Affordable Prosthetics) and Xoliswa Malinga and Malegola Mohlala (BB Unbraid Spray) were joint winners.
- Green environment: Michael Suttner (Interloop Global) presented The Lightie, a patent-pending test-tube shaped solar-powered light bulb that fits into standard PET soda bottles.
- Food and agriculture: Amelia Rampersad (Bio Research and Development) presented Flypot, a flytrap with special bio-engineered bait designed to attract fly species common in agricultural areas.