Week 02 – Science Forum, Bitcoin for SA business school, Smart agriculture

The challenge of digital inclusion in Africa: Innovation based on new technology and innovative business models is creating amazing potential for companies around the globe. The innovation itch is starting to be scratched in earnest in South Africa which is great news for entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers across the country. There is however an underlying current to apply innovation in a way that addresses the social needs of our country and continent at large. Here the application of innovation needs to address the delivery of basic services, allowing the population to access health care, education, emergency services and utilities. Companies that can deliver business models that improve their revenue while positively impacting society will be well positioned to gather more customer loyalty than those that don’t. Social responsibility should be a part of your business model canvas. Models that address the broad economic gap in South Africa, catering for the majority low income group will be well positioned for success. Key factors like connectivity, affordability, offline access and device requirements will play a big role.


Science Forum South Africa 2017 wraps up on a high note: The two-day SFSA, Africa’s largest „open science“ event, was opened by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. He noted in his address that the next Industrial Revolution had to be inclusive: „It is up to us to ensure that Africans are not treated only as consumers of technology, but also as developers and managers of innovation. In this, our youth are our most valuable resource. If, as a continent, we contribute to setting the global science agenda, then the solutions that technology produces will be able to advance our specific developmental interests.“ Minister Naledi Pandor further elaborated on the additional actions the DST would take to bolster efforts to support Africa’s development agenda, „There was a strong call at the Forum for governments to invest in science and innovation in Africa and to develop robust national systems of innovation. Deputy President Ramaphosa tasked us to design innovation systems that encourage young people to turn ideas into products and services.”
itweb.co.za, citizen.co.za

SA business school will take bitcoin: A South African business school, Red & Yellow, will accept bitcoin as payment for its degrees, advanced diplomas, certificates and online courses.
Red & Yellow, which has been in business since 1994, has campuses in both Cape Town and Johannesburg.
“The world is changing rapidly, as are our students and it’s our responsibility to ensure we are serving their future focussed needs,” says Rob Stokes, chairman of Red & Yellow and founder of digital agency pioneer Quirk. Prof. John Simpson, former head of management studies at UCT, who is now leading the same faculty at Red & Yellow, said: “Not only will this make our offerings more accessible to the public – individuals and organisations – but it will set us apart on an international scale, regardless of the market.”
it-online.co.za, businesstech.co.za

MTN in first 5G trial in Africa with Ericsson: Mobile network operator MTN and Ericsson have kicked off the first 5G technology and applications trial in Africa. For many 5G brings with it the promise of faster internet speeds and while MTN and Ericsson announced that the network achieved a throughput of 20Gbps it’s the latency that had our jaws dropping. Giovanni Chiarelli, CTIO at MTN SA, said 5G offers a new world of potential for South Africa. “With 5G, remote healthcare through connected robots could offer world-class surgery in the most remote parts of the continent and the world. Self-driving cars could change the face of road safety, along with smart agriculture, smart mining, and smart cities,” he said.
businesstech.co.za, htxt.co.za

Getting smart about agriculture: Farmers need to find better and more efficient ways of growing food, increasing their yield and reducing the risks of crop failure. Achieving this would include not only effectively managing input resources like fertiliser, water and seed quality, but also focusing on minimising the impact of variables like pests and bad weather. Reshaad Sha, CEO at SqwidNet and Chief Strategy Officer at DFA, suggests that the Internet of things (IOT) may offer the answer to these farming challenges. He expects this technology to play a significant role in enhancing agricultural productivity in the near future. Taking advantage of the data IOT provides, farmers can work their land while receiving updates from any asset anywhere on their properties – from crops to machinery and markets, all monitored without the need for the farmer’s presence.

  • #BizTrends2018: A recipe for innovation in a cash-strapped country bizcommunity.com
  • 15 people in the SA tech startup ecosystem you should follow in 2018 ventureburn.com
  • 11 challenges and competitions SA entrepreneurs can enter in 2018 ventureburn.com
  • SA startups invited to apply for Spark* accelerator disrupt-africa.com
  • ioT start-ups making waves in Africa iol.co.za