South Africa’s Young Technology Innovators now enjoy even greater opportunities to become the future drivers of the country’s vital knowledge economy.
The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) officially launched its Youth Technology Innovation Fund (YTIF). Its the brainchild of the Technology Innovation Agency, an entity of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), YTIF is available to young innovators between the ages of 18 and 30 years old and application for support is open to individuals, school leavers, students, and researchers from science councils and higher education institutions.
Successful applicants enjoy access to an array of support funding and services, including SABS product certification of up to R100 000, intellectual property protection of up to R150 000, 160 hours of business coaching, a voucher worth up to R250 000 for services at TIA Technology Stations and Platforms, and access to business incubation services through TIA partner organisations. In addition, up to four individuals involved in the supported projects can also qualify for an annual stipend of up to R60 000 for a two-year period.
TIA CEO, Mr Simphiwe Duma, officially launched the Youth Technology Innovation Fund by explaining that it has been designed to achieve these objectives by giving young South African innovators access to funding, mentorship and business support to enhance their chances of commercial success and maximize the contributions they make to technological innovation in the country.
Dr Margaret Mkhosi, TIA General Manager: Special Projects, stated that it is widely accepted, in all areas of industry, that technology innovation is a prerequisite for continued success and sustainable growth and development. Dr Mkhosi further comments: “Nowhere is innovation imperative more evident than in South Africa’s vital technology sector.”
Dr Mkhosi explains that (YTIF) was created to encourage and practically support such innovation by enabling the country’s young inventors, researchers and entrepreneurs to transform their creative technology ideas into commercially viable opportunities and enterprises.
According to Dr Mkhosi, 13 projects have already been selected to receive this combination of funding and support services. However, TIA welcomes new applications and proposals, particularly from projects that may benefit South Africa’s currently under-resourced sectors including, but not limited to, Health, Advanced Manufacturing, Mining, ICT, Energy, Industrial Biotechnology and Agriculture.
“While funding and support is not exclusively available to projects in these sectors,” she points out, “they are key focus areas of the YTIF given the urgent need that exists within them for the development of a sustainable pipeline of skills and talent.”
But irrespective of the type of projects selected for YTIF support, Dr Mkhosi is confident that this exciting new innovation funding vehicle will be highly instrumental in delivering significant technology advances and economic benefits for South Africa.
“Through its creative combination of financial, technical and business support structures, the TIA’s Youth Technology Innovation Fund not only provides vital assistance to its approved technology projects, it also offers the next generation of innovators the incentive they need to pursue a future in technology,” she concludes, “and by creating such opportunities for our country’s future innovation leaders, the fund will be contributing to a brighter and more sustainable economic future for all South Africans.”