Innovators need to sweep investors and customers off their feet

To succeed, innovators with new ideas and start-up companies need passion, commitment and optimism. “Technologies are not made by doubters, cynics or sceptics,” highlighted US venture capitalist Roman Kikta at the recent Innovation Bridge event in Pretoria. “Technology and innovation and entrepreneurship raises the quality of life not just for local people but for people around the world,” he pointed out. “There are also transformative innovations coming out of South Africa.”
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Innovative W Cape entrepreneurs awarded R6.2m

Twelve innovative entrepreneurs in the Western Cape have secured total funding of R6.5-million from the Design Innovation Seed Fund to take their ideas to the market. Launched last year, the seed fund was a joint partmership between the Western Cape’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Technology Innovation Agency.
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3D printing upgrade path for wood, ceramics and metal alloys

Three-dimensional (3D) printers being sold in South Africa by electronics distributor Rectron currently print in two types of plastic, but have a clear upgrade path over the next five years to eventually print in wood, ceramics and metal-alloy materials, says Rectron Group printer business unit manager Bruce Bradford. The desktop 3D printers are made by US 3D printing equipment company MakerBot and are mainly used in industry for prototyping, form-factor assessments and designs, as well as in education and hobbyists.
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SA-led SKA team aims to create biggest-ever map of the universe

The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what projects to use it for when its first phase is completed, in 2023. The SKA is being developed by the international SKA Organisation, which currently has eleven member countries.
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SA already has requisite skills base to adopt IGCC technology

South Africa is, in key respects, an ideal country to deploy the latest generation Integrated (coal) Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology for electricity generation. This is the view of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) Africa. “This technology needs sufficiently trained people, so there needs to be a skills base before it can be adopted,” explains MHPS Africa Chief Technology Officer Dietmar Breuer. “In South Africa, because of the [South African coal-to-petrol petrochemical group] Sasol background, the technology and skills requirements are already covered. There is very good knowledge in the base technology. South Africa is, from our point of view, the ideal country in Africa for IGCC. The next in line would be the directly adjacent countries, which can easily access South African expertise.”
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