The Innovation Hub, Africa’s first internationally accredited Science and Technology Park and a full member of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), calls on entrepreneurs and researchers to enter the Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP) Innovation Competitions.
As a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, The Innovation Hub plays a central role in catalysing the development of innovative solutions to the social and economic challenges of the Gauteng province in South Africa, whilst supporting the growth of emerging technology enterprises.
The Innovation Hub is located at the centre of a high tech research and innovation triangle that includes the University of Pretoria, Council for Scientific Research (CSIR) and a number of high tech industry parks in the Pretoria East area.
The physical park and associated programmes are driven by The Innovation Hub Management Company (TIHMC) which provides specialised business incubation and infrastructure services aimed at the development of innovative enterprises in the ICT, Biotech, Green Economy and Industrial sectors. TIHMC also runs a number of linked provincial innovation support programmes including the Open Innovation Solution Exchange (OISE) and GAP Innovation Competitions.
According to McLean Sibanda, CEO of The Innovation Hub, “By consolidating our innovation competitions under the GAP brand we aim to expand their impact and reach new researchers and entrepreneurs across the Gauteng province. GAP is designed with sustainability in commercialisation and implementation in mind through close links to our incubators and the involvement of our industry and government partners in the campaign and adjudication process. In this way, we are able to effectively close the ‘gap’ between idea and market. The winning entries will be chosen based on the innovativeness of their approach, commercial prospects, and potential for positive social impact including prospects for improved service delivery by government.”
The GAP Opportunity
The Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP) includes four high profile innovation competitions – GAP Green, GAP ICT, GAP Medical and GAP Biosciences – targeted at Gauteng-based researchers and entrepreneurs looking to take their prototypes and late stage R&D to market.
The competitions are an evolution of the Gauteng Innovation Competition and GAP Biosciences programme which, over the past three years, attracted more than 300 entries and invested over R3 million in seed funding and incubation support into 13 startups in the ICT, green and biotech sectors.
This year it has been expanded to four competitions which will identify 12 new innovators to join The Innovation Hub’s product and business incubation programmes, valued at more than R1 million, and to receive cash awards and seed funding totalling more than R2 million.
The four competitions include:
GAP Green seeks emerging entrepreneurs developing green technology solutions related to energy security, water management, waste and sanitation, sustainable mobility and food security. Entries to the competition open in September 2013 and close on 13 October 2013 to access R750,000 in cash awards and seed funding along with R550,000 worth of incubation services delivered by the Maxum Business Incubator and new Climate Innovation Centre, a an initiative of The Innovation Hub in partnership with the World Bank that is accelerating the development of green entrepreneurs in South Africa.
GAP ICT seeks researchers and entrepreneurs working on novel technologies and ICT-based solutions to our country’s biggest challenges. Entries to the competition open in September 2013 and close on 13 October 2013 to access R750,000 in cash awards and seed funding along with R550,000 worth of incubation services delivered by the Maxum Business Incubator and prestigious Mobile Applications Laboratory (mLab) Southern Africa which is focused on building successful mobile tech entrepreneurs.
GAP Medical is a Health Innovation Competition linked to the recently launched World Innovation Day to be held in Geneva in 2014. The main objective is to identify and nurture health innovations that will contribute to the improvement of health service delivery within hospitals. Entries to the competition open in September 2013 to access R50,000 in cash awards plus incubation services delivered by the Maxum Business Incubator at The Innovation Hub, as well as entry to the World Innovation Day which aims to support solutions discovered by the health care staff and university researchers that would have remained otherwise anonymous and unexploited by hospitals.
GAP Biosciences is run in collaboration with Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and is being run for a second year in 2013. GAP Biosciences is a unique programme that assists scientists and entrepreneurs to pursue commercially viable opportunities for their cutting edge bioscience technologies. This programme was launched in 2012, reaching the top bioscientists in Gauteng, and distributed over R700 000 in prize money for the top business plans.
This year the programme aimed to identify the most innovative and groundbreaking bioscience technologies and accelerate contestants towards commercial success.
Entries to GAP Biosciences closed in May 2013 but will reopen in early 2014.
The process for the three open competitions is as follows:
- Enter on the relevant GAP website before 13 October 2013 via www.theinnovationhub.com/gap
- Twelve winners will be announced at the combined GAP awards ceremony to be held on 6 December 2013.
- Incubation and seed funding for winners starts in January 2014 at The Innovation Hub.
To contact The Innovation Hub:
- Physical address: Innovation Centre, Mark Shuttleworth Street, The Innovation Hub, Lynwood, Pretoria, 0087.
- Tel.: 012 844 0000
The Innovation Hub
- Website: www.theinnovationhub.com/gap
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