Rapid test for SARS-CoV2 wins first prize in annual Gauteng Accelerator


MicroMab Diagnostics / UP has secured first prize in the Biosciences category for its innovative rapid test for SARS-CoV2 in the Gauteng Accelerator programme. 

Hosted by The Innovation Hub, the selected winners have secured a share of R3 million in seed funding which will allow businesses to further incubate and drive scalability.

 MircoMab Diagnostics/UP win R500 000 for medical innovation

Professor Tahir Pillay, Dr Bettina Chale-Matsau, and Mr Reggie Govender, founders of MircoMab Diagnostics/UP led the winning innovation in the GAP Biosciences category receiving R500 000. 

In an official press release, Advocate Pieter Holl, CEO of The Innovation Hub explains that entrepreneurs that presented unique innovations will have access to personalised mentorship, advisory, and sessions addressing skills development in addition to funding. 

“This year has proved that the next generation of entrepreneurs can adapt to change and take hold of opportunities within the market. Our innovators have stepped up to the challenges faced in South Africa today. We are proud to see so many entrepreneurs involved in the sciences and blazing the trail for other innovators and entrepreneurs. It is our privilege to be able to provide them with the mentorship and funding that they need to advance their projects.”

Innovators will be provided with networking opportunities as well as infrastructure in 2021 that will further establish their business. 

First prize winner

MicroMab Diagnostics / UP is awarded first prize for their innovation in the Biosciences category which has the highest prize money. 

The innovation supports bioscience technology as it is a rapid, and cost-effective test strip or kit created for SARS-CoV2 that utilizes nanobodies. Nanobodies are a special type of antibody that is produced in bacteria which detects viral proteins. 

The winning innovation uses bioscience technology which will lead to several rapid tests for diagnosis during acute infection. In addition, the unique mechanism will result in a diagnosis of carrier states that is based on viral protein antigen detection.

The Gauteng Accelerator Programme

The Gauteng Accelerator Programme, implemented in 2011, has received more than 1 400 applications across five different categories. This year the event was hosted virtually gathering SA and international attendees. 

The Innovation Hub has reportedly invested more than R19 million in seed funding and assisted over 100 start-ups through the programme by providing incubation.

There are five different categories within the GAP innovation competition with five winners announced for each category. 

The full list of winners and their prizes are available here.

Winning innovations

GAP Township economy category

The GAP Township economy recognises and supports innovations that are township-based and displays the potential to lead to growth in the township economy. 

Mamntlane Phyto Pharmaceuticals & Nutritional Supplements for Elderberry and Pelargonium Cough Syrups was awarded first place in the GAP Township economy category. The healthtech company has developed cough syrups which are plant-based. The unique and sustainable product reportedly does not contain alcohol. The innovation can be used to treat coughs, flu, colds, and even diabetes. 

GAP ICT category 

GAP ICT identifies researchers and entrepreneurs that address ICT solutions to solve challenges in South Africa.

Teambix receives first prize for its innovation, an online solution that allows companies to ‘share’ their employees with other companies.

The ICT innovation allows salary costs to be shared with other organisations and ensures employees will earn a full salary for time worked.

Medical category 

UNISA receives first place in the medical category for a mobile health technology that accelerates accessibility and availability of antimalarial drugs as well as Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs). 

The innovation uses data that was collected during a three-year research project. The mobile health technology drives a theoretical supply chain coordination of ACTs into a practical mobile application tool.

General hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing economies with coordination and technological issues are encouraged to use the software that is the practical mobile application tool. 

The application tool will manage, facilitate, and improve the availability of ACTs.

GAP Green category 

GAP Green supports entrepreneurs who tackle green technology solutions tailored to SA challenges. The University of Limpopo in collaboration with EcoHarness Pty Ltd receives first place for its simple water purifying gadget. The innovation uses Moringa oleifera seeds as active beads.

Holl explains that the participants of The Innovation Hub’s competition demonstrated the ability to innovate.

“The competition was exceptionally strong this year. We are certain that the chosen winners will use the year of incubation to the best of their abilities. These entrepreneurs have beyond proven themselves and we look forward to what their futures hold.”

Future competition

Entries for the 2021 GAP innovation competition will open in April 2021. Categories will remain the same and entrepreneurs of all ages are encouraged to apply. 

Read more: Sea Monster wins prestigious global award
Read more: Future of Work Africa 2021 Accelerator Programme open for early-stage startups

Featured image: National Cancer Institute via Unsplash 



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