Minister Pandor has called for increased investments in research, human capital development, intellectual property and trade in high technology industries.
She notes that this is part of the aspirations of the NDP Vision 2030 which seeks to ensure that South Africa’s public policy fosters socio-economic growth and industry-science linkage.
This was during the launch of the second Innovation Bridge Showcase Matchmaking Event held at Gallagher Estates in Midrand, Johannesburg this week. The event showcases publicly funded technology innovation and creates matchmaking opportunities for technology developers, financiers, funders and technology users.
Also present was Director General Phil Mjwara, CEO and co-founder of Aurik Business Incubator, Pavlo Phitidis and Managing Director of SiMODiSA Matsotso Modise and leading entrepreneur, global keynote speaker and venture capital expert Vusi Thembekwayo, among others.
The event attracted a multi-generational audience of over 1000 people comprising academia, entrepreneurs, youth, policy makers, scientists, industry and a host of stakeholders from the science ecosystem.
The event is supported by Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NiPMO).
“Our national development plan recognises science, technology and innovation as central to the country’s efforts to achieve higher economic growth. It seeks to ensure that South Africa’s public policy fosters socio-economic growth and industry-science linkages through increased investment in research, human capital development, intellectual property and trade in high-technology industries,” Minister Pandor says.
She lauds the launch of the Innovation Bridge Portal as a key milestone for the 2017 edition of the event. The portal is a website that serves as a year round online technology innovation marketplace for South Africa and the country’s innovation partners in greater Africa and across the globe.
She adds that a key focus of the Department is to strengthen commercial connections between business, government, science councils, higher education institutions and society. Meanwhile, Phitidis says innovation is necessary to drive job creation, bridge the digital divide and increase the country’s taxable income.
He says appropriate skills and access to funding is necessary in the ecosystem of innovation. Chief Executive Officer at Identity Capital Partners Polo Radebe says society needs to view failure as a learning curve if it is to encourage innovation.
“We need to get rid of this idea that if you fail, you are done,” she says. One of the innovators, Central University of Technology showcased its prosthetic medical innovation by which casualties of accidents can now get prosthetic replacement.
Ian Van Zyl, the Project engineer, says one of the biggest breakthroughs is that of Tyler Baker, a 15-year-old boy from Cape Town who was born without ears.
“He was a subject of insensitive remarks and ridicule until we designed a prosthetic ear for him. We used specifications from his sister’s ears. Now the boy is living a happy and very productive life,” he says.
The CSIR BioManufacturing Industry Development Centre (BIDC), a world-class facility established to translate research and development into market-ready products and services in the biomanufacturing sector, was also among the exhibitors.
The facility offers competency through value chain from laboratory scale concept validation through to technology prototyping and pilot scale manufacture.
Meanwhile, Sam Dlomo from Rosebank lauds the event organisers and government’s leading role to make it a success.
“This is a powerful forum where the Department of Science and Technology and its entities work together with the private sector, public institutions and the science ecosystem to address the economic, social and environmental challenges that our country and continent faces. The Department is also in the forefront to encourage the use of science and innovation to address the triple onslaught of poverty, inequality and unemployment,” Dlomo says.