Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) through its innovation fund programme has offered grants to five more local innovation companies to the tune of P2 million.
Botswana Innovation Fund (BIF) is a Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology initiative intended to promote innovation through provision of early stage funding to innovative projects.
Beneficiaries of this year’s call include ELGenuin Engineering Technology, Bayon Holdings, Mmoloki Makoba, and Casper Nyamukondiwa from Botswana International University of Science and Technology and Mmilili Mapolole from Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation.
Speaking during the launch recently, BIF chairperson Kekgonne Baipoledi said the second call for proposals sought innovative solutions in the sectors of mining technologies, clean technologies, biotechnology, which include agriculture and health technologies, information and communications technologies, knowledge intensive business services and indigenous knowledge systems.
“The recipients are funded up to P2 million per project that is spent on eligible costs only. The funded projects are closely monitored and grants are withdrawn on project milestones basis,” he said.
The second call for proposals received more than 300 applications from research institutions, academic organisations, entrepreneurs, application developers, indigenous knowledge holders, social enterprise, private sector companies and non-governmental
On his part, BIH CEO Allan Boshwaen said they took a deliberate decision to open the call to a broader pool of applications including from companies that are not registered with the Innovation Hub.
“We have received an increased number of applications, which indicates the significant level of interest and efforts in innovation amongst Batswana,” he said.
The funded projects are expected to scale up by accessing other funding instruments such as commercial banks and development funding institutions.
Last year BIH unveiled seven beneficiaries of the fund, which had about 54 applications. According to the hub, the first call was benchmarked against regional and innovation fund, and designed to fund from proof of concept to pre-commercialisation stage where shortage of funding in innovation is most pronounced.
During the launch last year government invested P12 million in the fund intended to benefit private companies, and organisations registered and operating in Botswana who seek to develop commercially viable innovative products or processes with significant impact in the society.