The Global Cleantech Innovation Programme of South Africa (GCIP-SA) has opened entries for its yearly competition, which is focused on highlighting the latest clean technology innovations and solutions, to entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The initiative aims to spur local technology innovations in energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste beneficiation, water efficiency, green building and green transportation in support of the country’s national priorities.
Entries for the fourth edition of the competition will close on April 26.
The programme combines a yearly competition and a business accelerator programme where SMEs and start-ups are continuously trained, mentored and assessed on their business models, investor pitches, communication and financial skills for the development of a more marketable and investor-attractive product and business.
A group of semi-finalists is selected through the competition to proceed to become inductees in the GCIP-SA’s business accelerator, which is aimed at assisting entrepreneurs and SMEs.
GCIP-SA national project manager Gerswynn McKuur says the business accelerator provides online training to participants as part of the international GCIP programme, which is complemented by weekly mentoring sessions to assist participants in mitigating risk in their ventures and making them more attractive to potential investors.
Participants in the GCIP-SA programme also get the opportunity to showcase their innovations and a chance to win a monetary prize, in addition to a fully sponsored trip to San Francisco, in the US where they will be afforded the opportunity to compete on an international level as part of the Cleantech Open Global Forum in 2018.
McKuur says the winner who attends this international event will have extensive opportunities to meet international investors and potential partners.
He adds that one of the primary goals of the competition is to uncover South African clean technology innovations and technologies, which the GCIP-SA can help take to market.
The competition consists of six categories – energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste beneficiation, water efficiency, green building and green transportation – with the latter two categories being new additions.
To enter, participants need to ensure their innovations are new and ground-breaking; are an adaptation of existing technologies; or use existing technologies in unique applications. Innovations should be at proof-of-concept stage up to pre-commercialisation, with potential for commercialisation, and have protectable intellectual property.
Entrants must also comprise a team of more than two people, one of whom must be a South African resident, citizen or legal alien.