Call for SA innovators to enter Siemens contest
Prize money of approximately R2 million is available to 23 winners of the six-month competition held by the Siemens Foundation.
Science and Technology minister, Naledi Pandor, has encouraged South Africans to showcase their innovation on the global stage by entering a competition seeking technology solutions to development challenges.
The minister has endorsed the competition aimed at small businesses, inventors, researchers, NGOs and technology organisations.
Prize money of Euros 200,000 (approx R2 million) is available to 23 winners of the six-month competition known as the “empowering people Award”. The competition was launched by the Siemens Stiftung (foundation) at the Rio +20 sustainable development conference in June.
Pandor said she had no doubt about South African talent and abilities and was fully supportive of efforts to stimulate and promote innovation.
“I am particularly pleased this competition focuses on sustainable development and environmentally-friendly solutions. I encourage South Africans to enter the Siemens Stiftung competition and to showcase our innovation talent on a global stage,” Pandor said.
Entries are invited in categories of Water and Waste Water; Energy, Food and Agriculture; Waste Management and Recycling; Housing and Construction; Healthcare and ICT.
The competition aims to make innovative technology more accessible to the development community, and to empower people to improve their own social and economic conditions.
Innovators and developer teams are invited to submit a proven product or solution that can help combat development challenges by providing better access to appropriate technology.
The Siemens Stiftung has urged South Africans to enter.
“Whether you are a school, university, research institution, NGO, company or inventor, everybody in South Africa who has invented a technology solution to basic development challenges is invited to take part in the competition,” said Ulrike Wahl, managing director of the Siemens Stiftung.
Ideas and projects entered into the competition will be made available to governments, innovators and development organisations through a global database which provides access to knowledge and financial resources. Entrants and their projects will become visible to international partners and investors.
The database will stimulate new research and help people and organisations working in development to share best practice, interact with counterparts in other parts of the world, and benefit from international solutions to local challenges.
“Access to knowledge and interaction is a key success factor for development projects,” Wahl said.
“We hope to connect bright minds and powerful technology solutions with vulnerable people needing basic services, and to provide a tool which enables interaction, knowledge exchange, and cooperation.”
Entries close at midnight CET on 31 December 2012.
The first prize, to be awarded in June 2013 by the Siemens Stiftung, is Euros 50,000 (approx R500,000). The second prize is Euros 30,000 (R300,000) with Euros 20,000 (R200,000) for third place. A further Euros 5,000 (R50,000) will be awarded to 20 runners up.