Western Cape fund awards $560k to 12 innovators

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The Design Innovation Seed Fund (DISF), an initiative of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), has awarded a total of ZAR6.5 million (US$560,000) to develop 12 innovative ideas in the province.

The fund was launched in August of last year and received a total of 151 applications, with 12 grants now made. Western Cape-based early-stage small and medium enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurs, students and researchers were all eligible to apply.

Among the chosen innovations were transport app GoMetro, bag-packing machine Pro Project Engineering, biotech solution PURIS, e-learning platform Sea Monster and food safety compliance mobile solution ASHTECH.

M-health service iMobiMaMa, mathematics and science game Forge Technologies, smart device manufacturer Nervedata, climbing shoe maker Ajax Manufacturing, solar solution Sicame, solar pool cleaner Eco-Equilibrium, and bone conduction headset manufacturer Stroketech made up the rest of the list.

Erica Elk, executive director of the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI), which manages the fund, said the right funding at the right time can have an amazing catalytic effect on small businesses.

Alan Winde, South Africa’s minister of economic opportunities, said he was excited to see the ideas coming out of the Western Cape.

“It is important to be open about the challenges we face as a society, and to create an environment in which innovative entrepreneurs can come up with solutions and develop them,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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