By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
The Botswana Innovation Hub has announced the nomination of two technology entrepreneurship start-up companies, Deaftronics and EmPowered as semi-finalists in the Technology Idea (Tech-1) 2015 competition. The competition is part of the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative.
The GIST initiative builds entrepreneurial ecosystems across the world by identifying, coaching, and funding the most promising technology entrepreneurs through its flagship competitions, startup acceleration services, online social media platform and interactive mentorship programs. GIST forges partnerships, locally and globally, among technology entrepreneurs, angel investors, mentors and experts, to foster human progress and prosperity.
Deaftronics, represented by Tendekayi Katsiga, have developed the first ever Solar Powered Hearing Aid. The company is a client of the Botswana Innovation Hub’s technology entrepreneurship development programme, First Steps Venture Centre (FSVC). EmPowered represented by Eunice Ntobedzi developed an Off Grid /Smart Grid -Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) system which addresses barriers of Solar PV in Botswana.
The nominations are a global endorsement of Botswana Innovation Hub’s drive to develop and nurture viable technology oriented start-up businesses with potential to grow locally and into international markets. As custodian of the National Innovation Agenda, Botswana Innovation Hub has embarked on a National Voting Campaign to have Botswana rally behind the nominees by voting the two entrepreneurs into the final Top 30 round of the competition. The Top 30 finalists will have the opportunity to present their innovations at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) to be held in Nairobi Kenya this July. US President Barak Obama is scheduled to attend the summit.
Organized annually since 2009, the GES has emerged as a global platform connecting emerging entrepreneurs with leaders from business, international organizations, and governments looking to support them. This will be the first time the GES will take place in sub-Saharan Africa.
Botswana Innovation Hub’s ICT AND Marketing Director, Dr Geoffrey Seleka says, “The nomination of the two companies is a step in the country’s drive towards building a knowledge-based economy through job creation and economic diversification through science, technology and innovation.”
According to the Hub’s Tigele Mokobi, “for Deaftronics and Empowered to advance to the final stage of the competition, they will require the votes of the national and global public to propel them to the finals in Kenya. Botswana Innovation Hub calls on the nation to rally behind the nominees by voting online.” To vote, one must visit the GIST website: