The 5th SA Innovation Summit which took place in Johannesburg from August 28-30 was a resounding success. More than three hundred industry leaders from across the country gathered at the Innovation Summit. Platforms for collaboration between funders and entrepreneurs, markets, big business and government were laid, handshakes sealed deals and some collaborations were further enhanced by meetings at the Summit.
After its enthusiastic reception at the last Innovation Summit, “the Lab” was back with a bang.
Breakthrough technologies shared space with art, architecture, food and live performance and South Africa’s boldest thinkers. The public also got an opportunity to be part of the Summit through the Innovation Lab Open Days and the livestream to five African countries. School-going children and young adults enjoyed the world of robotics display as they saw robots designed to walk on the moon and interacted with the makers of the robots.
The Leadership Thought Panel discussion saw some of South Africa’s leading CEOs debating and discussing innovation and finding new pathways to co-innovate with other leaders. Two hundred and fifty delegates from five nations tweeted and participated in the live African stream.
The Pitching sessions were a big hit with entrepreneurs using it as a platform to pitch to large business and funders, like IDC, SPII, TIA, Tech Transfer from Stellenbosch University, and an IP expert from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC).
The Facebook Lab competition unearthed interesting inventors and their technologies which were showcased at the Summit. One of the finalists was Khaya Power Solar Energy which entered under the sustainability category. Khaya Power Solar Energy provides electricity to people who are not on the electricity grid and the inventor was able to speak to funders and get advice from intellectual property experts at the Summit.
The Innovation for Prize for Africa of $150 000 USD was also launched at the summit. It aims to support African’s efforts to develop new products, increase efficiency and drive cost-savings. It has five categories that include agriculture and agribusiness; ICT appliactions; health and wellbeing; environment, energy and water; manufacturing and services industries. The winning proposal will be awarded a cash prize of $100 000 USD, with the two runners-up receiving $25 000 USD.