Western Cape innovators receive multi-million rand investments to develop cutting-edge products

The Western Cape’s most innovative entrepreneurs have secured funding boosts totalling R6.5 million to take their best ideas to the market.

The 12 recipients of the Design Innovation Seed Fund were officially announced this morning.

Launched last year, this is a joint fund between the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Technology Innovation Agency.

It is being implemented by the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI).

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, delivered the keynote address at the announcement.

The event was held at the Design Park, a shared space where designers have access to equipment and resources to develop their innovations.

Minister Winde said the entrepreneurs were “creating solutions for the world” and “building the brand of the Western Cape as a centre of innovation”.

“You are showing the world that the entrepreneurs at the tip of the continent are smart, they have great ideas and that this is an exciting space to take ideas to action”.

“We see South Africans like Mark Shuttleworth and Elon Musk who are changing the world because they invested in their ideas. Seeing the ideas of the entrepreneurs here today, I’m confident that South Africa’s next big innovator will come from the Design Park,” said Minister Winde.

One of the recipients, Forge Technologies, has designed Intelleapp, a mathematics and science application for grade 10 to 12 pupils.

Haley Gray, from Forge Technologies, said the company was driven to design “products that make us change agents”.

The application allows pupils to compete against one another and includes a career portal.

“It gamifies content that learners often struggle to engage with,” said Gray.

Minister Winde said the park and fund offered valuable support to innovators for high-risk early stage innovation.

“We support the growth of the Western Cape’s design sector, which contributes R14 billion to the national GDP. Projections show the Design Park could boost that to R20billion,”said Minister Winde.

Minister said the park and fund were well set to increase the number of innovations that are commercialised and increase exports of design-related products.

“We want to improve the success rate of businesses in the sector by at least 30%. Ultimately this could see the creation of 14 000 jobs,” said Minister Winde.

The 12 companies and their products are:

  • Pro Project Engineering, based in Kuils River – Automatic bag packing machine for use in several industries, including food and beverage
  • PURIS, based in Paarl – Method of increasing production of Soloton, a natural aroma chemical
  • Sea Monster, based in Gardens – Production of digital content and animation which can be integrated into school curriculum
  • Go Metro, based in Tygervalley – A back-end analytics tool that measures the performance of all modes of transport
  • ASHTECH, based in Ottery – Reporting and monitoring system for food safety industry, which can be used on smartphones and tablets
  • iMobiMaMa, based in Claremont – Interactive health services platform, using mobile technology to connect with pregnant women
  • Forge Technologies, based in Woodstock – Rewards-based mathematics and physical science game aimed at high school pupils in Grade 10 -12
  • Nervedata, based in Cape Town CBD – Smart devices to track key operational data, including assets and staff, for businesses
  • Ajax Manufacturing, based in Paarden Eiland – High-resistant aluminium pole climbing shoes for professionals working on electrical or phone lines
  • Stroketech, based in Vredenburg – Waterproof headsets for swimmers and extreme watersport athletes, allowing real time communication and audio
  • Ecoequilibrium, based in Landsdowne – Solar-powered pool cleaner
  • Sinemac, based in Maitland – Solar disconnector