Five women-led products and innovations, developed with the assistance of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), were launched and showcased to the market on August 30.
The products include skincare products, a personal tracking device for children, an alternative to drinking yoghurt and a woman-centric hydroponic solution.
The TIA, an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation, helped the five women develop their innovative products to a level where they were ready to market with the support of its Grassroots Innovation Programme.
Mandisa Mpalweni, a holistic wellness practitioner specialising in reconstructive bodywork therapy, an African indigenous herbalist, counsellor and life coach, developed her HoneyPod range of skincare products for the beauty and wellness sector.
She says her products are derived from the application of indigenous knowledge, using indigenous South African botanicals, some of which she cultivates herself.
Ntombizodwa Kepeyi, driven by the persistent number of missing children in South Africa, developed Tracker Gabriel – a personal tracking device that can be incorporated into a school bag or personal item for use in cases where children go missing.
“A child going missing in South Africa every five hours. Seventy-seven per cent of these children are found; however, unfortunately 23% are usually not. These are only reported cases,” she says.
She says children get kidnapped, abducted and trafficked.
She currently has two products – a backpack and a keychain device, with the latter enabling the user to transfer the tracker between different bags.
Pontsho Lelosa, driven by a lack of affordable alternatives to drinking yoghurt, developed the Grain Rush sorghum- and kefir-based drink which is suitable for persons avoiding sugar, artificial sweeteners, colourants and preservatives.
She hopes to have her products on the shelves of health and nutrition shops and pharmacies in the near future.
The product is currently in the phase of customer validation and shelf life determination, following which certification, intellectual property management, marketing and the drawing up of a business case will be done.
Annemarie Bremner developed an alternative to an aquaponics solution that is easier to use and maintain by women, children and senior people, called the Kleinskuur Gravel Barrel.
The solution uses an automatic syphon system as part of its high-production aquaponics system. She says it is energy efficient, water-wise as it recycles water used in the system, and cost effective and enables large and small farmers to grow fruit crops more efficiently.
The water efficiency of the system means 95% less water is used to grow food crops. Bremner says open-field production of tomatoes uses about 200 ℓ of water to produce 1 kg of tomatoes, while her solution uses 1 ℓ to produce 1 kg.
The 35 ℓ gravel barrel is scalable and can be incorporated into existing systems, including hydroponic systems.
Nomahlubi Nazo developed a healing skincare product range using biopolymers through a grant of R260 000 from the TIA’s Grassroots Innovation Programme.
Her company Foi Science started making biopolymers from the beneficiation of marine and food waste to produce collagen from items such as fish scales and hyaluronic acid from eggshell and its membrane.
The company also makes botanical extracts from medicinal plants, then blends botanical extracts with biopolymers and vitamins to make gels, films and creams that are made for scar and wound care products.
These products assist in accelerating the healing time and appearance of the scar and wound area.