They say necessity is the mother of invention, but invention drives the economy. In 2020, the SA Innovation Summit has collaborated with the Department of Trade, Industry & Competition (the dtic) to host the Inventors Garage competition. The Inventors Garage competition is a tribute to the spirit of innovation and the work of dedicated inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times. The competition affords innovators, inventors and unique creative thinkers a platform to showcase their talents at the annual SA Innovation Summit – a major public gathering on the South African calendar – that showcases, connects, capacitates, and originates the best start-up talent from Africa to the world. It has done so for 13 years and made possible billions of Rands worth of deals for African entrepreneurs.

A highlight of the Summit, the Inventors Garage is an opportunity for entrepreneurs with a working prototype or product from proven concept to pre-commercialisation to gain access to funding or incubation, market exposure and business support.

Audrey Verhaeghe, Chairperson of the SA Innovation Summit says: “New roads are made by walking.”

Finalists in the competition will be awarded an opportunity to exhibit their invention, prototype or design at Virtual365, which is the first-ever virtual version of the SA Innovation Summit to be held from 30 September to 01 October.

The dtic is excited about hosting the Inventors’ Garage competition this year and profiling the inventions of young South Africans as well as the outputs of our technology incentive programme,” says Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina. “During the Summit, we will increase awareness around innovation and new digital technologies, especially the existing black industrialists and grassroots innovators through collaboration with different economic actors.”

Chief Director of Innovation and Technology at the Department of Trade and Industry, Ms Nonkululeko Shinga says that the dtic will also be launching a Grassroots Innovators Programme called the Kgwebo Innovation Promotion Programme (KIPP) during the 2020 Summit.

“We have partnered with the Industrial Development Corporation on the KIPP and implementation of the programme throughout the country will happen in line with the rural and township economic revitalisation focus of government. Support for grassroots innovators who wish to apply will be provided during the launch. The KIPP will have two sub-schemes. Firstly, the Small Medium Enterprise Growth Scheme which concentrates on enterprises already in existence and looking to scale and penetrate new markets. Secondly, the Grassroots Innovation Funding Scheme (GIFS), where focus will be on grassroots innovators that are at start-up phase or trading in a small scale.”

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About the SA Innovation Summit:

The SA Innovation Summit is the biggest start-up gathering in Africa that provides a platform for nurturing and showcasing African innovation, while facilitating access to funding, new markets and partnerships and business support. Created to support and promote innovation and facilitate collaboration, the event brings together entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, academia and policy makers from over 30 countries to accelerate innovation and inspire sustained economic growth across Africa. For information

About the Department of Trade, Industry & Competition

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) is the South African government department aimed at creating a dynamic, industrial, globally competitive South African economy, characterised by inclusive growth and development, decent employment and equity, built on the full potential of all citizens. the dtic’s strategic objectives, among others, include facilitating transformation of the economy to promote industrial development, investment, competitiveness and employment creation as well as facilitating broad-based economic participation through targeted interventions to achieve more inclusive growth.

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