The Innovation Hub, the innovation agency of the Gauteng Province hosted the Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP) Innovation Competition Awards Ceremony on Thursday, 21st November, the awards are hosted annually in line with celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week taking place between the 18th and 24th November. Winners comprised of innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs that are working on novel ideas that will improve the efficiency of government service delivery, increase the competitiveness of the local economy and enhance the quality of life of ordinary citizens. Categories were in the ICT, Medical, Biosciences, Green economy and Township economy.

The next generation of entrepreneurs will receive commercialisation support and seed funding, and a year-long incubation support at The Innovation Hub’s Business Incubators: Maxum Smart, Climate Innovation Centre, BioPark@Gauteng and the eKasiLabs facilities which are in the townships. These companies are not only contributing towards the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) but are creating jobs and addressing the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Their innovations are also contributing to different aspects of our lives including education, transport, health and wellness.  

First place in the ICT Category went to Olova for their single payment digital platform for multiple public transport systems, particularly bus and rail. Second place went to LITT Africa, Honest Care came third while Boolyx Edu-Tech took fourth place. The Special Recognition in the category went to Geometrorail.

In the Medical Category, Cabblow Studios were first prize winners for their medical animation for public education of medical conditions by creating original animated health content. Second place went to Magitech Science while University of Pretoria and Malherbe Imaging came third. A Special Recognition in the Medical Category went to Jumping Kids.

The Biosciences Category saw Sawubona Mycelium win the first place for producing high-value ingredients and extracts from mycelium fermentation for use in food, beverages, cosmetics, pharma, dairy and laboratory. Second prize went to Amasu Technologies from University of Kwazulu Natal and Organic Works from University of Johannesburg coming third. The Special Recognition in this category went to CSIR Mvelo Drink and Blyde Botanics from the University of Pretoria.

In the Green Category, Sanineat received the first prize for growing the low-cost drought-resistant moringa plant at their plantations in Mpumalanga and Limpopo to manufacture affordable biodiesel thereby enabling rural economic development and job creation. Second prize winners were Bashomi Trading and Projects with Ti-teq Solutions coming third with fourth place going to Design The Future. The Special Recognition went to Afrika Ash Insulation.

The GAP Township Economy Category was hotly contested and featured the highest number of finalists with over 10 companies battling it out to be announced the top innovator. The eventual winner was Kutsala Publishing, a publishing company that aims to change the narrative for African storytelling by creating indigenous content that African children can relate to. Second prize winners were Gym Tech Guyz with joint 3rd place going to STX WORX and Uku’hamba. Fourth prize winners were The Race of Life games and the Special Recognition going to Mobo Greeners.

Since inception in 2011, the five categories of GAP have attracted more than 1200 entries and invested over R14 million in seed funding and incubation support to over 77 start-ups.

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