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South African innovators in the medical field have come out with the top prizes at this years Innovation Hub competition for the Gauteng Accelerator Programme.

 

South Africa (11 December 2020) – The winners of The Innovation Hub’s annual competition, the Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP), have been announced today, 10 December 2020. This year’s winners will receive their share of R3 million in seed funding to further incubate and establish their businesses. First prize winners of the GAP Biosciences category, MicroMab Diagnostics / UP developed a rapid test for SARS-CoV2. Prof Tahir Pillay, Dr Bettina Chale-Matsau, and Mr Reggie Govender led the innovation.

The deserving entrepreneurs will also have access to personalised mentorship, advisory and skills development sessions, infrastructure and funding, and networking opportunities during 2021.

Since its inception in 2011, the Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP) has attracted more than 1400 entries across five different categories. The Innovation Hub has invested over R19 million in seed funding and provided incubation support to over 100 start-ups through this programme. For the first time in The Innovation Hub’s history, the event was hosted virtually with attendees tuning in from across South Africa and internationally.

“This year has proved that the next generation of entrepreneurs can adapt to change and take hold of opportunities within the market,” says Advocate Pieter Holl, CEO of The Innovation Hub. “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,” he adds.

The GAP innovation competition consists of five different categories, and there were up to five winners for each category. You can view the full list of winners and their prizes here.

GAP Township economy identifies and promotes township-based innovations that lead to growth in the township economy. First place was awarded to Mamntlane Phyto Pharmaceuticals & Nutritional Supplements for Elderberry and Pelargonium Cough Syrups. These cough syrups are free from alcohol and are plant-based. They are used medicinally for various health conditions including coughs, flu, colds and even diabetes.

The Biosciences category (with the highest prize money allocation of R500 000) supports the innovation of Bioscience technology. MicroMab Diagnostics / UP received the first prize for their innovation: A rapid, and cheap test strip/kit for SARS-CoV2 using nanobodies, a special type of antibody produced in bacteria, to detect viral proteins. This technology will result in several rapid tests for diagnosis during acute infection, and for diagnosis of carrier states based on viral protein antigen detection.

GAP ICT identifies researchers and entrepreneurs working on ICT solutions to solve the country’s problems. Teambix were awarded first prize for their innovation. They created an online solution that allows companies to ‘share’ its employees with other companies. Salary costs are, therefore, shared with other organisations and employees can still earn a full salary for their time.

In the medical category, first place was awarded to UNISA for a mobile health technology that increases accessibility and availability of anti-malaria drugs and Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs). The innovation uses data obtained from a three-year research project to advance a theoretical supply chain coordination of ACTs into a practical mobile application tool or software. This software can be used by general hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing economies with coordination and technological challenges. The software will manage, monitor, and improve the availability of ACTs.

Supporting entrepreneurs who come up with green technology solutions to South-African tailored problems, GAP Green awarded first place to the University of Limpopo in collaboration with EcoHarness Pty Ltd for their innovation – a simple water purifying gadget which makes use of Moringa oleifera seeds as the active beads.

“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,” concludes Advocate Holl.

The GAP innovation competition runs annually and entries for 2021 will open in April. All the categories will remain unchanged. Entrepreneurs of all ages are invited to enter the competition to stand their chance to win their share of seed money and experience an opportunity of a lifetime.

For more information on The Innovation Hub and its service offering including the GAP Innovation Competition and its business incubators  , please contact  Linah Nematandani at lnematandani@theinnovationhub.com | (+27) 12 844 0030/ (+27) 71 673 9964 or visit www.theinnovationhub.com.


Sources: Innovation Hub
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Tyler Leigh Vivier
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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