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By 17 January 2013 | Categories: news

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Africa’s first accredited science and technology park, the Innovation Hub, has announced the winners of its Gauteng Innovation competition. The annual contest aims to foster innovative entrepreneurial ideas in order to spur growth in the Gauteng economy and this year, focused on issues that are critical to municipalities.

eGov Connect took top honours within the mobile category. The company pulls communication between citizens and government, as well as fault reporting and social media into a unified user experience to enable easy interaction with public officials.

Vela Tsotsi was named as second prize winner in the mobile category for its USSD-based crime reporting tool, while Gov + Me took third prize for its use of mobile location information to connect citizens with government information specific to their area of residence.

Top performers in the green category

In the green category, Smokeless Coal won within the green category for its combination of waste coal, clay and water to produce a smokeless energy source that burns longer than conventional coals.

SavvyLoo won the second prize for its low cost, waterless toilet which is easy-to-assemble and clean, presenting a sustainable alternative to prevent water pollution from waterborne sanitation and pit latrines. Handy Power Chargers was named as third prize winner in this category for its kinetic chargers use on notebooks, desktops, mobile phones, lamps and radios where there is no grid electricity supply.

100+ entries received

This year, more than 100 submissions for the Innovation competition were received by the time entries closed on 14 November 2012. The Innovation Hub stated that the stringent competition called for innovations that address specific focus areas identified by sector and municipality representatives, and required innovators to complete a draft business plan indicating their expected market as well as the likely investment requirements.

There were specific focus areas within the two themes, the first of which was mobile technology, which prioritised mobile applications that are able to improve citizen safety; citizen participation, as well as transport and traffic management. The second theme, green technology, prioritised entries related to four main areas that include solar energy, waste to energy, energy efficiency and water management.  

The Innovation Hub is a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), which in itself is an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (DED). Acting GGDA CEO, Siphiwe Ngwenya, commended all the finalists of the competition. “The finalists in each category have responded to specific challenges that affect our society and we expect that these innovations will have a significant impact on service delivery, economic growth and job creation in the future. We congratulate the winners and The Innovation Hub on their success and look forward to seeing these innovations come to market.”

According to The Innovation Hub CEO, McLean Sibanda, the Gauteng Innovation Competition has once again attracted a mix of concepts from individuals and small enterprises across the province. “The winners will receive significant support to commercialise their innovations, not only in the form of prize money but also through mentorship, intellectual property advice, and linkages to additional funding sources.”

In other eco related news, check out our Green News for the month of January 2013 here.

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