Pretoria: South Africa’s efforts to grow the economy and create jobs through research and innovation topped the agenda at the first Innovation Bridge technology showcase and matchmaking event, currently underway in Pretoria.
A first-of-its-kind, the two-day technology matchmaking event in South Africa will provide an opportunity for local and international technology-based companies, entrepreneurs and financiers to scout for technology solutions and investment opportunities.
Addressing the media on the sidelines of the event, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said the event also gives people from various sectors an opportunity to come together.
Minister Pandor said increasing the number of researchers, enhancing research and innovation skills and outputs could contribute positively to improving South Africa’s economy and job creation efforts.
“Knowledge is the currency of the global economy. If South Africa wants to continue to compete in the 21st century, we must support research and innovation that will generate growth and jobs now and in the future,” she said.
She said her department has provided support for the development and commercialisation of Research and Development (RandD) outputs as well as legislation.
The Minister said the Innovation Bridge will serve as a key platform to close the gap between RandD and the market, contribute to economic competitiveness and stimulate increased investment in RandD through the creation of an enabling environment for technology exploitation and entrepreneurial partnerships.
She said government was increasingly investing in research and development. The 2011 South African Innovation Survey shows that South African enterprises have a relatively high and novel innovation rate.
The report recommended that policy makers should take note of these positive trends and ensure that the policy and infrastructure environment actively supported innovation activities in the productive sectors of the economy.
One of the exhibited innovations at the Innovation Bridge event is a mobile hearing screening solution. The product transforms a smart phone into a calibrated device for early identification of hearing loss, which according to the World Health Organisation, affects 360 million people globally and more than three million in South Africa alone.
The 2015 Innovation Bridge has been organised by the Department of Science and Technology, together with its partners the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), and Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA).
The event is attended by representatives of various organisations in South Africa and abroad.
SOURCE: South African Official News