On 15 September 2017, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and its agencies, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) hosted the second edition of the Innovation Bridge Technology Matchmaking and Showcasing Event at the Gallagher Estate. 

The touted “South Africa’s premier Technology Matchmaking and Showcasing Event” aimed at enabling linkages and networking between South African and international innovators, industry and public and private technology development, and commercialisation funding partners.

The event aims to encourage and accelerate the utilisation and commercialisation of existing and new knowledge and technologies that have been developed in publicly funded South African research and technology development institutions. This focus on publicly funded research and technology development differentiates Innovation Bridge from other innovation and technology conferences and exhibitions. 

The 2017 event  edition had 75 exhibitors and over 170 innovations from across South Africa in different sectors. The exhibitors were a mix of higher education institutions, science councils andpublic enterprises showcasing the innovative capacity present in South Africa. Visit the Innovation Bridge Portal YouTube Channel to view interviews with some of the innovators as well as the Head of NIPMO.

As in 2015, the second edition of the event continued to present speakers of great calibre to discuss a range of relevant and interesting topics. Minister Naledi Pandor spoke on “Advancing South Africa’s Inclusive Economic Growth through Innovation: The Role of Government, Business and Society”. Small business guru and CEO of Aurik Business Incubator, Pavlo Phitidis spoke on “Building Successful and Sustainable Innovative Technology Businesses” and finally, Venture Capitalist and Global Business Speaker Vusi Thembekwayo, asked rhetorically, “Is there appetite for local innovative solutions?”. Other speakers included, DST DG Dr Phil Mjwara, DST DDG Mmboneni Moufhe, Managing Director of SiMODiSA Matsi Modise, co-CEO of The Creative Counsel Gil Oved and SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter. 

The event saw the official launch of the Innovation Bridge Portal, a virtual and online complement to the biennial showcase event where innovators, technology developers and funders can have means to collaborate on an ongoing basis.

The event concluded with an award ceremony, which saw the University of Western Cape’s Zenzeleni community Wifi network solution win the award for “best innovation with social impact”. Hlomuka Holding won “best innovation” for its circumcision device and the University of Cape Town’s Additive Manufacturing was bestowed with the award “innovation most likely to find market nationally and internationally”. 

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