A grand prize of R120,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Silicon Valley in the US has been awarded to Rhodes University graduate Bandile Dlabantu whose Mobile Fly Farm was announced as the winning innovation in the 2017 Global Cleantech Innovation Programme in South Africa (GCIP-SA).
Mobile Fly Farms use black soldier fly larvae to convert organic waste into animal feed. It is aimed at emerging farmers to help them to organically improve their yields. Dlabantu will now be heading to the innovation capital of the world to compete against the top performers in other GCIP programmes from across the globe at the Cleantech Open Global Forum in February 2018.
“It is a great honour to be recognised by such an esteemed panel. Thank you to the GCIP-SA for believing in me and helping to make my dreams a reality,” Dlabantu said.
Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor presented the grand prize to Dlabantu on 3 November at a gala event in Pretoria. She said that the GCIP-SA’s highly successful programmatic approach accelerates commercial opportunities and creates platforms for participants to promote their product offerings and raise funding.
“Through its ongoing support of entrepreneurs and innovation in the clean technology space, the Programme will contribute to strengthening the resilience of the complex South African entrepreneurial economy to operate within the global market, and will have measurable positive economic and social benefits for the country.”
Sara Andreotti’s Sharksafe Barrier and Euodia Naanyane-Bouwer’s Gracious Nubian washable and reusable sanitary pads received the runners-up prizes and R60,000 each. They will both be joining Dlabantu at the Cleantech Open Global Forum next year.
There were also three special category winners who each received R20,000 in prize money. In addition to her runner-up prize, Naanyane-Bouwer scooped the innovation for social impact award.
The most promising woman-led business award was won by Stephanie Pons for her TouchTap innovation that makes water more easily accessible for disabled rural women. The award for the most promising youth-led business went to Pontsho Moletsane who invented Nosets, an automated irrigation system designed to enhance irrigation efficiency for shallow root crop agricultural markets.
GCIP-SA is a competition-based business accelerator offering participants extensive training and mentoring to help them get their products investment-ready, and connect them to networks of local and international peers as well as potential partners and funders.
It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
UNIDO Representative and Head of South Africa Regional Office Khaled El Mekwad said: “UNIDO is committed to help in the development of green businesses all over the country, and engage them towards the sustainable management of natural resources. UNIDO looks forward to further successful partnerships of this nature, and expresses its appreciation for the support provided by the South African Government and all stakeholders involved in this success story.”
In South Africa, UNIDO has partnered with the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) as the execution and hosting institution for the GCIP. “The premise is simple: successful innovations, innovators and entrepreneurs create industries, jobs, and contribute to better living conditions, a sustainable environment and economic growth,” said TIA CEO Barlow Manilal.
As the founder of Khepri Innovations, Bandile Dlabantu’s aim is to become the number one bioconversion research and sustainable animal feed producer in the world.