BIH EMPOWERS INNOVATORS
Batswana innovators may not have won any prizes at the last Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) awards, but as more young people continue to warm up to the innovation concept, there is renewed optimism that they may be headed in the right direction
Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH), Alan Boshwaen, believes that the 5th edition of the IPA awards which brought together innovators from across Africa at the Gaborone International Convention Centre last year, was an eye opener for local innovators.
While he acknowledges that a prize would have been a morale booster for the locals, Boshwaen believes that the opportunity to host the continental event was, on its own, a window into the innovation space.
Other positives drawn from hosting the event, Boshwaen says, included seeing people who otherwise would not have seen themselves as innovators, stepping forward and enquiring on how they can link in and create innovations.
About 15 innovators submitted their work for the IPA in the areas of ICT, clean technology, mining and others but only two of them made it to the end stages. Others were shortlisted but they did not make it to the top 10.
The park, Boshwaen says, will be a crucial part of BIH services offering a one-stop-shop for innovation including top-end facilities, video conferencing, partnership, incubation and others.
The Innovation Prize for Africa offers major cash prizes for those that come forward with genuinely ground-breaking innovations
It offers annual Awards of US$ 185 000 to three winners and 7 nominees– capital that is now seeing amazing impacts on the winners who go on to attract more funds and create successful businesses.
The IPA also provides unique platforms for African innovators and innovation enablers to network, share knowledge, and discuss potential collaborations.
In addition selected innovators receive support and training in areas including communications, intellectual property and business development.