The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, has congratulated five impact-driven South African technology companies that have been selected to take their businesses global as part of the first Irish Tech Challenge in South Africa.
Launched in February, the Irish Tech Challenge South Africa is an exciting new initiative of the Embassy of Ireland in partnership with the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and its entity, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).
It aims to create mutually beneficial partnerships between Irish tech experts and South African tech entrepreneurs to drive innovation, job creation and inclusive economic growth in South Africa. The Challenge attracted over 21 applicants who had to demonstrate impact in addressing one of the 17 United Nations‘ Sustainable Development Goals.
The five tech entrepreneurs will embark on a fully-funded 8-day curated business networking programme in Ireland, which is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing technology hubs.
There, they will be able to access the expertise of Irish tech leaders and build networks while receiving funding support of up to R129 200 each.
Minister Nzimande expressed appreciation for Ireland’s support for development in South Africa and the hope that research and innovation partnerships would be strengthened to benefit more start-ups in the country.
“We continue to identify grassroots innovators – especially women and youth-led enterprises – in South Africa and assist them in enhancing their innovations and skills through a range of interventions, including funding and business development support towards pre-commercialization,” emphasized the Minister.
The Minister said the government has also made significant strides through the Technology Acquisition and Deployment Fund in facilitating market entry for local innovations that can improve the delivery of basic services.
“All these initiatives are aimed at creating a strong technology and innovation ecosystem in South Africa, and ultimately at contributing to socio-economic growth in the country,” said Minister Nzimande.
He urged the five companies to become ambassadors of development to motivate similar start-ups in their localities in the country.
The companies include ShazaCin Accessible Media (Pty) Ltd, which has developed the ShazaCin app, a mobile application that allows visually impaired people to access videos with audio descriptions, including movies, documentaries and illustrated literature and sport in English and isiZulu.