Posted: September 22, 2021
The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Fikile Majola says innovation has the capacity to contribute significantly in growing the South African economy and creating the much-needed jobs. Majola was speaking through a pre-recorded video on the second day of the South African Innovation Summit which is taking place in Cape Town and virtually.
“Innovation plays a crucial role in socio-economic development, and is recognised as a new and potentially significant driver of improvements in service delivery and poverty alleviation. It also serves as a mechanism for deriving commercial benefits, economic growth and job creation,” said Majola.
He added that the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) had been supporting innovation in South Africa for many years as it recognised the critical role that innovation can play in assisting companies increase production and become globally competitive.
“It is imperative to state that innovation is not the end; it is only a means for companies to increase competitiveness, productivity, profitability and growth. Simply put, innovation leads to higher productivity, meaning that the same input is now able to generate a greater output. As productivity rises, more goods and services are produced at lower costs, resulting in increased profitability and economic growth,” stressed Majola
He added that the dtic has been participating in the annual innovation summit since 2014 due to the exposure that it provides to the beneficiaries of the department’s innovation and technology support programmes
“The SAIS provides the Black Industrialists, grassroots innovators and the beneficiaries of our innovation and technology programmes with opportunities to exploit both local and international markets for further growth and sustainability. The summit brings funders, founders, accelerators, corporates, policy makers and academia from across the world together to connect and accelerate ecosystem outcomes which can support the scaling and replication of innovations,” said Majola.
He also said that the department’s Khoebo Industrial Innovation Programme (KIPP) with a budget of R300 million, was established in 2020 as a result of discussions that took place at the summit in 2018 and 2019 when the dtic hosted roundtable discussions for grassroots innovators.
“The grassroots innovators were not only given an opportunity to market their products, but they were also provided with a platform to express themselves on issues that affected them and come up with possible solutions. It was recommended that rural and township-based innovators must be prioritised and funding instruments dedicated to their needs must be developed. The KIPP was a response to this recommendation,” explained Majola.
The KIPP has two sub-schemes, namely, the Small Medium Enterprise Growth Scheme, which is looking at enterprises already in existence and are looking to scale up and penetrate new markets, and the Grassroots Innovation Funding Scheme, whose focus is on grassroots innovators that are at start-up phase or trading in a small scale.
the dtic has been supporting grassroots innovation to participate in the Inventors Garage competition which Majola described as the highlight of the summit. The competition provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs with a working prototype or product from proven concept to pre-commercialisation to gain access to funding or incubation, market exposure and business support.
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
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