The recently concluded Technology Innovation Bazaar has successfully connected a number of inventors with supporters who have pledged to invest in their inventions.
“This kind of collaboration is crucial for Namibia. There are so many great ideas, which have a real potential but need support to be able to break through to the market,” emphasized Professor Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, the director of the Inclusive and Collaborative Local Tech Innovation Hub, the Bazaar’s main organiser.
The most generous contribution came from MTC, the main partner of the event. “We strongly believe local technology innovation has much to give to the nation,” said Dr Licky Erastus, MTC’s Chief Technology Officer.
Inviting others to follow MTC’s lead, Prof. Winschiers-Theophilus encouraged all companies to contact the Tech Hub to hear how they can support local inventors and use local technology solutions to improve products and services.
“Many have already done so. The day after the Bazaar, companies who attended the event emailed us to request contact details of the inventors who pitched in our Dragon’s Den and Pitch Auction. We were delighted to hear also from those who at the moment cannot commit financial resources, but were willing to lend their support in other ways,” Prof. Winschiers-Theophilus said.
In addition to MTC, also Cornastone and the Tech Hub itself pledged financial support to Bazaar inventions. All three, together with SALT Essential and Nomad Holdings, pledged to provide also technical advice and other types of in-kind support. Other Bazaar partners included Embassy of Finland, 99FM, Schoemans Group, Veya, Southern African Innovation Support programme (SAIS) and BM Design Studio.
The invention that reaped the most monetary prizes at the Bazaar – a total of N$ 18 000 – was The Lab, an educational app game that helps learners excel in scientific experiments regardless the state of the science lab in their school. It was closely followed by SmartHire, a mobile app that will connect employers to reliable short-term labor affiliated to the NGO Men on The Side of the Road, also known as MSR, and Owela – a digital version of one of Africa’s most beloved games.
Other successful pitchers included EasySHOP, a mobile platform to connect retailers and shoppers; Lucky – a software tool for preventing cyber-attacks and other security threats; EstApp rental app; Lighting Namibia, a dual-axis affordable solar lighting solution; a sensor-based noise pollution detection system; Dial-a-Technician gig work platform; and Spin Da Bottle, a collaborative learning game.
The Technology Innovation Bazaar was organised by the Inclusive and Collaborative Local Tech Innovation Hub from 22 to 23 May at Namibia Business Innovation Institute in Windhoek West. The Bazaar was organised in conjunction with the annual research day by the Faculty of Computing and Informatics at NUST. The event attracted more than 300 participants for two days of exhibitions, research briefs, competitions, and interactive workshops. The Bazaar inventions were identified through an open public call, which runs from 8 April to 11 May 2019.