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Awards applaud innovators

BUSINESSMAN Cyril Ramaphosa has called on all aspirant entrepreneurs from poor backgrounds to utilise all opportunities before them.

Ramaphosa was speaking during the South African Breweries Innovations Awards in Sandton on Monday night.

He said the awards were launched to applaud people who do great things with their talent and innovate to create better things in life.

"As a developing country we are changing. A society that does not innovate is static and doomed to fail," he said.

"With these awards we are recognising and encouraging people to move forward. We want to encourage their ideas to find deeper meaning in our society."

Claire Reid, 25, walked away with the overall prize of R1-million. She created a handmade vegetable planting strip made from biodegradable paper. Each vegetable strip is water soluble, contains fertiliser and non-modified seeds.

Two runners-up, ShonaQuip (led by Shona McDonald) and The Invoice Exchange (Tito Mbatha) each received R500000.

ShonaQuip designs and manufactures innovative wheelchairs and seating support for disabled people in under-resourced areas.

The Invoice Exchange support and enable small, medium sized enterprises to access working capital immediately by selling their invoices on an exchange and receiving payment within 24 hours.

Third place is shared by Arivi Paraffin Stove and Drybath who each walked away with R150000.

Seed grants of R100000 each were awarded to FoodPops, MoveeCom Mobile Internet Café, Harvest of Hope-Abalimi Bezekhaya, Mthatha Agricultural Airport Service and Notetaker.

Ramaphosa said one of their key aims was to see decent jobs being created from these innovations.

"We are helping them to stimulate rural development and food security. We want this to be a worthwhile endeavour. It will boost local solutions to local challenges and also empower people," Ramaphosa said.

"The innovations are pro-poor, targeting people who don't have means to get it done, particularly low-income groups."

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