Challenge accepted

by | Mar 7, 2018 | News

In an effort to address the water crisis in the Western Cape, the Austrian Trade Commission (ATC), the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), Silicon Cape and The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) recently launched an open innovation challenge looking for agri-water technology innovations.

Since then several new partners have actively joined the effort – including the Water Research Commission (WRC), Hortgro and Winetech.

The WRC is committed to funding research and making meaningful contributions to the development of the water sector in South Africa.

Hortgro, the home of the South African deciduous fruit grower, generates information that enable growers to make informed decisions about markets and trade; research and technology; plant development and evaluation; cultivar development; facilitates market access and phytosanitary issues; communications; marketing campaigns; transformation and the development of rural areas.

Winetech operates as a network of participating institutions and individuals that, in one way or the other, have a strong interest in improving the competitive position of the South African wine industry. Water sustainability throughout the value chain is one of the key focus areas in which Winetech funds research in the wine industry.

Submissions from entrepreneurs, universities and other interested parties are welcome. Opportunities for top submissions include entrepreneur support, including mentoring and a workshop in business model validation, business pitches and proposals, and market validation, as well as business matchmaking.

The challenge has also attracted sponsors in the form of Von Seidels and I Makers Lab. Von Seidels is an intellectual property (IP) law firm based in Cape Town, who specialise in protecting and enforcing IP rights in South Africa and Africa. Makers Lab Irene and Mobile Makers Lab, funded by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), is a fully equipped digital fabrication workshop that gives you the opportunity to develop your ideas and create prototypes for new products.

Therefore, in addition to the opportunities mentioned above Von Seidels will be offering IP protection to the top submission, and I Makers Lab will be offering Research & Development assistance for the top pre-commercial submission.

The challenge partners believe there is significant opportunity and need to encourage and support agri-water technology locally. Davis Cook, CEO at RIIS, said: “Even with the much-needed delay of ‘Day Zero’, the water crisis across the Cape will not go away – the development and implementation of innovative water saving technology will be needed both now and into the future, to help prevent us from ever getting into this situation again.”

For further information about this challenge please visit the website:

For any challenge process or technical queries contact Tel.:  +27 (0) 12 012 5015 / +27(0) 76 412 6536 or Email:

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