Yolandi Schoeman of Baoberry took the top prize at the 2016 awards ceremony of the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa (GCIP-SA) for her innovation aWetbox.
aWetbox – or a wetland in a box – is a cost-effective, nature-based grey water treatment system that eliminates 99% of disease-causing micro-organisms and improves water quality for household use by up to 80%.
National cleantech innovation winners announced
Pamela Alborough of SanAqua HCA, with a waste-water treatment enhancement solution, and Martin Ackermann of Thevia, with roof tiles made from 99% waste materials, were the runners-up.
Schoeman received a cash prize of R120,000 while Alborough and Ackermann each received R60,000. In addition to the cash prizes all three contestants will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley in the US where they will compete against top performers of other GCIP programmes from across the world in February 2017.
Schoeman also received the award for the most promising woman-led business, while the award for the most promising youth-led business went to Sandiswa Qayi of Amahlathi Eco-Tech, who developed the Hot Spot for geysers, an innovation that supplies 50-litres of hot water within 30-minutes. The Innovation for Social Impact award went to Louise Williamson for the safe and fuel-efficient Mashesha syngas stoves specifically designed for use in schools and community feeding schemes. The three special category winners each received R20,000 in prize money.
Showcasing an innovative nation
Delivering the keynote address at the awards ceremony in Pretoria, Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor said that the GCIP-SA has been contributing to the development, promotion and deployment of clean technology innovations through its various activities and continuous engagement with stakeholders.
“The programme also creates a platform for linking South African entrepreneurs with investors, business and commercial partners, potentially resulting in the commercialisation of new products and services and ultimately job creation.
“This cleantech programme has showcased an innovative nation. Innovation adds momentum to the structural economic change that is needed for economic growth, job creation and an improved quality of life for us all,” she said.