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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  28 Aug 2017

EXPO: Driving Meaningful Change at the SA Innovation Summit


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THIS YEAR'S SA Innovation Summit, taking place from 6 to 8 September 2017 at the Cape Town Stadium, is set to inspire and challenge innovators to come up with solutions that have a positive social and economic impact. With exciting competitions, practical workshops, panel discussions, fantastic networking and business matching opportunities, and an impressive line-up of local and international speakers, this year’s Summit is not to be missed.

A new feature at this year’s Summit is the Theory of Change: champions and thought-leaders who publicly commit to making a change through innovation and entrepreneurship will be tracked over the next year. They will report back on their progress at the next Summit by sharing best practices and what has been achieved. “We want dreamers, creators, enablers, and implementers of new ideas to rethink what is needed to create a more sustainable social and economic impact by joining a new tribe of change makers,” says Audrey Verhaeghe, Chairperson of the Summit.

Verhaeghe explains that the Theory of Change will form a central component at the event: “We want to drive a change agenda by mobilizing tech entrepreneurs, and the community around them, to commit to making meaningful change. It is about accelerating innovations from idea to scale and promoting an inclusive agenda that positively impacts our collective physical and social environment.”

A stellar line-up of local and international speakers are expected at the event. Investor, businessman and group co-CEO of The Creative Council, Ran Neu-Ner, will share insights about the rise of the on-demand economy (and how to capitalise on it), something he has described as “the next big commercial evolution”. Delegates can also expect be to inspired by a host of female innovators which include accomplished businesswoman, strategist and trailblazer, Patricia Norris, and Janneke Niessen, Innovation Officer of Improve Digital and winner of the Ernst and Young Most Innovative Leader in 2016.

At the Pitching Den Competition, a panel of venture capitalists, angel investors and business development experts will review presentations from early stage start-ups looking to win cash prizes, media exposure and networking opportunities with sponsors and enablers. The winner will be entered into the 2018 Startup World Cup Grand Finale, and stands a chance to win a US$1 million investment prize as Africa finalist. The Inventors Garage Competition will also take place at the Summit, featuring 20 new prototypes and the competition’s semi-finalists. Inventions will be judged according to their originality, need, potential, practicality, and creativity. The Summit will also see the launch of a new brand called TechTribe. Merchandise will be on sale to celebrate the role of the Tech entrepreneur in a very visual way.

It’s all systems go for the Santam Hackathon in partnership with IBM, which brings together 80 lateral thinkers, problem solvers and innovators to find powerful solutions to bring affordable safety and security solutions to all South Africans. The winning team will receive a R20 000 cash prize and an opportunity to be one of the Santam Safety Ideas Top 10 finalists who receive incubation support (worth R150 000) to guide their idea from ideation to concept, to prototype and eventually business plan, and finally readiness to launch. Second and third prizes worth R10 000 and R5 000 will also be awarded. Hackers and interested parties can visit for registration information.

“Entrepreneurship represents the biggest opportunity in our lifetime. It is the most important way for Africa to achieve its full potential, to deliver products and services that stand out and are credible, ultimately leading to meaningful change. It might seem like a David and Goliath story, but it’s time to take Africa to the World with courage, vision and ingenuity,” concludes Verhaeghe.

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