2022: A year spent building deeper connections and amplifying impact in South Africa

Posted on: 16/12/2022

Global Alliance Africa at Innovate UK KTN are pleased to present a round-up of activity for this year. The team wish you all the very best for 2023.

It has been a busy and productive year for the South African team at Global Alliance Africa. Under the leadership of Marisa Naidoo and Alana Kruger, several new projects have been launched with the aim of building stronger UK-African partnerships and achieving our goal of creating new and improved opportunities for access to market, investment, and collaboration between players in the British and South African innovation ecosystems.

Among the highlights of this year has been the curation of a Place-Based Innovation Advisory Group. Consisting of representatives from research institutions, investment firms, NGOs, innovation hubs and government organisations – the body is working to help address the challenges faced by township innovators and entrepreneurs in South Africa’s Gauteng Province.

In this year alone, the Group has launched a pilot project in partnership with the Agriculture Research Council (ARC), aimed at connecting nutrition-focused academic innovations with local communities in need;  partnered with BoombaDot Mobi to launch a township-based waste management platform and introduce the community to a shared economy business model in collaboration with Standard Bank, Africa Tikkun and Wot-if? Trust; initiated the #MoreThanAWoman initiative with mLab, which aims to support previously disadvantaged women and youth innovators by addressing barriers to access to investment; and facilitated a roundtable discussion with stakeholders from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and the UK, to unpack challenges and opportunities to increase access to funding. You can find out more about our Advisory Group members and activities by clicking here.

New partnerships have also been developed via the Open Innovation intervention, which seeks to expand business-to-business partnerships, accelerate penetration of new innovation, and increase supply chain robustness and diversification. Through our Innovation Exchange programme, we have assisted Unilever in identifying innovative solutions that promote a culture of ‘reduce, reuse and refill’ for both their single-use plastic products and online consumer goods. Meanwhile, we have begun working with Rand Water to discover new approaches to the treatment and beneficiation of drinking water. To learn more about our work with Unilever, click here – alternatively, to find out about our current collaboration with Rand Water, click here.

With South African legislators in the process of revising the South African Intellectual Property Rights Act, Global Alliance Africa collaborated with the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) and World Bank Group, to deliver a series of international knowledge-sharing workshops between the UK, South Africa and selected countries in August 2022. Aimed at strengthening the policy environment of the national innovation ecosystem, the workshops hosted attendees from across the four countries as well as Brazil, Canada and Singapore, who shared learnings and international best practices to support the revisions to South Africa’s Intellectual Property Rights regulations. Click here to read more about these workshops.

Lastly, 2022 also saw the rollout of the Innovation Canvas in South Africa, with various training workshops delivered in partnership with The Innovation Hub and eKasi Labs staff, to strengthen their support services to innovators within their portfolios. Looking ahead, further training will be taking place over the course of next year with the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA), which will be delivered to stakeholders nationwide. Find out more about the Innovation Canvas here.

Global Alliance Africa Energy Catalyst, Guateng, South Africa
Global Alliance Africa Energy Catalyst, Guateng, South Africa

As we approach 2023, plans are already underway to announce the launch of Energy Catalyst Round 10 – a funding opportunity which aims to bring together and align South African and UK energy-sector stakeholders on potential opportunities for collaboration (this comes after a successful launch of the previous round in July 2022, which you can read about here). At the same time, Global Innovation Networks are being set up to connect players in African Energy and Waste & Water Management. Between September 2022 and March 2023, we will be mapping stakeholders, unpacking key challenges, and building an advisory group to lead the development of a roadmap on how we will overcome these obstacles together. But these are just a few opportunities that we have planned for South Africa in the coming months – so be sure to stay in touch!

We wish all our partners, collaborators and peers in South African innovation a prosperous and fruitful year ahead, as we work together to build a more innovative and inclusive world.

About Global Alliance Africa

The Global Alliance Africa project is a six-year project funded by UK Aid through Innovate UK (GCRF) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Follow us for more project updates:

Twitter: @KTN_Global

Instagram: @WeAreGlobalAlliance

Webpage: ktn-uk.org/programme/africa

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Global Alliance Africa

Global Alliance Africa

This Innovate UK Global Alliance Africa 6-year (2019-2025) project funded by UK International Development aims to build new and stronger UK-African partnerships to maximise the creation of inclusive market access, funding and investment opportunities through innovation knowledge transfer between the UK, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.


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