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South African rooibos IP innovation to be presented at WIPO congress in Geneva

The extensive trademarks and patents protecting two of South Africa’s unique botanical treasures, namely Rooibos and Honeybush, has caught the attention of the international community where the Minister of Home Affairs, the Honourable, Malusi Gigaba has been invited to deliver a keynote address at this year’s 56th General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

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Acumatica 6 launches in Africa

Local business solution provider One Channel has launched the highly-anticipated release of Acumatica 6 in Africa. The latest release of Acumatica's cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution features useful new product and technology enhancements.

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ATTACQ and LaunchLab to make an impact on retail in Africa through breakthrough innovation

  • Published in Retail

ATTACQ, a leading capital growth fund in the Real Estate sector, has teamed up with the LaunchLab, a network of African university campus-based business incubators,in an exciting breakthrough innovation challenge. This partnership will be driven by the LaunchLab’s Breakthrough Innovation Platform to capture new ideas and business models that may create the next breakthrough innovation in the retail industry. This includes the LaunchLab's Ideas and Lift-Off Programmes that allow corporates access to external breakthrough innovations in their industry. This will allow new businesses to engage with ATTACQ to assist in making an impact on retail in Africa.

ATTACQ invests in and develops high-quality real estate assets as long-term investments that generate quality rental income and sustainable capital growth for shareholders. With this in mind, ATTACQ wishes to build an innovation pipeline as a value-add for their clients and for customers that visit their real-estate properties daily. ATTACQ know that people will always need space, but the nature of the activity in that space is changing every day. They have recognised this opportunity and are looking for ideas with business potential that may create the next breakthrough innovation in retail by addressing the following:

  • Responding to the e-commerce needs of clients and customers
  • Customer experience, comfort and convenience
  • Payments within ATTACQ properties
  • Operational issues: utilities, security, cleaning

The LaunchLab provides a link to a unique community of campus-based and community-based entrepreneurs as well as an environment where start-ups can test new technologies and business models without corporate restrictions. The Ideas programme extends across all universities in the Western Cape and certain  universities in Gauteng, tapping into student and non-student entrepreneurs as well as communities of innovative thinkers and creators.

A two-hour workshop was held on 11 August 2016 at the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg and a workshop will be held on 19 August 2016 at the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab, where participants will have an opportunity to engage with the LaunchLab and ATTACQ teams, as well as to connect with other aspiring entrepreneurs in the retail industry. The purpose of the workshops is to provide the context for the Retail Challenge by explaining current challenges and opportunities for new businesses to be able to make an impact on retail in Africa. Attending this workshop will also help entrepreneurs stimulate their thinking and provide clarity about the value of their business idea.

The workshops form part of the LaunchLab's Ideas Programme which will help attendees to identify a potential winning idea that can be pitched at the Pitching Platform starting 29 August 2016. Finalists will be selected from these submissions to pitch at a final event which will take place on 19 October 2016. Winning ideas stand a chance to win R100, 000 in seed funding and LaunchLab incubation support to the value of R150, 000 for the next six months to be used to launch and grow their business ideas... ATTACQ will be carefully monitoring the development of these business ideas during this time to gauge their potential see if they can add value to their existing clients and customers that visit their real estate properties daily.

Interested entrepreneurs and innovators are invited to join the workshop and can find more details about the Pitching Platform on our website: http://www.launchlab.co.za/attacq

The LaunchLab and its programmes operate from the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab building in Stellenbosch. The Launchlab is an initiative of Innovus, the industry interaction and innovation company of Stellenbosch University, and is funded by Stellenbosch University,Nedbank and the Department of Trade and Industry

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Santam looking for ‘best and brightest’ solutions to SA’s safety issues

Imagine street lights that switch on when something moves. Or a fire hydrant that warns the municipality when it’s faulty. Or a truck strap that alerts the driver when a load is loose. These seemingly simple ideas have the power to keep us all safer. Short-term insurer Santam is inviting all South Africans to submit their best and brightest safety ideas, with the aim of turning them into one-of-a-kind safety solutions.

“Santam wants to help ordinary South Africans to turn their safety ideas into a reality, to the benefit of the greater community,” says Donald Kau, head: Corporate Communications at Santam.

“With this programme, we are celebrating the resolve and spirit of innovation that is inherent in our country and our people. We are creating a platform for improving people’s lives and protecting their livelihood, one idea at a time.”

Commenting at the launch of this programme, Ms Nontombi Marule, Director, "Innovation and Technology at the Department of Trade and Industry says, “The Department of Trade and Industry is not only in support of this initiative but excited in that it is perfectly aligned with the thinking within the Dti. The ongoing development of the National Technology Strategy is geared to ensure that ideas and technology developed in South Africa become a source for economic development for the generators of these ideas.”

We call on the South African public to submit their ideas, all are welcome, from small and simple to more elaborate solutions, as long as they relate to home, vehicle or personal safety. The winning concepts will go through an incubation process valued at R150,000 facilitated by our partner LaunchLab, and will be developed into prototypes – and further stand the chance of being turned into viable businesses.

How does it work?

  • Entrants can submit a short video entry online at www.santam.co.za/safetyideas (cell phone footage is perfect) before 23 September 2016, explaining their idea.
  • A series of workshops will be held during the month of August where entrants will be able to put questions forward and clarify entry requirements before submitting. These workshops will be held in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Entrants can register online to participate in a workshop.
  • Pitching platforms will be set up at participating university campuses throughout South Africa during September where entrants will pitch their ideas. Entrants must register online to secure a suitable time slot.
  • Between 15 and 20 finalists will be chosen based on originality, applicability, market attractiveness, and estimated length of time to take the product to market.
  • A panel of experts will select the 10 best concepts which will receive seed funding to cover mentorship and incubation space in the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab.
  • Prototypes and high-level business plans will be developed for the 10 best concepts during an intensive 14-week LaunchLab Knowledge Acceleration Programme™.
  • After a 4- to 6-month Countdown Programme™ run by LaunchLab, in which extensive mentoring and coaching will take place, three final business plans will be presented to a panel of Santam and Sanlam investors.

“This programme underlines Santam’s commitment to keeping South Africans safe while providing insurance good and proper. We are not only there for our clients when something goes wrong, we are also committed to helping prevent things from going wrong in the first place,” says Kau.

For further information, visit https://www.santam.co.za/safetyideas/

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Innovation makes microgrid control smarter

In what the company refers to as a world first, power and automation technology group ABB is making it possible for microgrids to be protected, controlled and managed using smart circuit breakers. A software-based innovation for the company’s Emax 2 smart circuit breaker makes microgrid architectures simpler and more cost-effective than ever before.

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