Applications have opened for South Africa’s Design Innovation Seed Fund (DISF), through which designers, inventors, entrepreneurs and product developers with pre-revenue innovations can apply for grant funding of up to ZAR800,000 (US$47,000).
The DISF is a project of the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) with investment funds provided by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and support from the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT).
Since its launch in 2014, the DISF has disbursed ZAR15.8 million (US$929,000) in grant funding from TIA, with 26 projects completed. The seed funding assists recipients to understand their opportunities by designing and building prototypes; and validating their assumptions around the technical and market-related challenges.
Applications that support innovative products and the creation of protectable intellectual property are welcome from a wide range of sectors including agri-tech, biotech and e-health, construction, advanced manufacturing technology, low-carbon technology, renewable energy, ICT, and software engineering, including data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
“Ask any innovator what holds them back from developing their new products and growing their business – and they will tell you: the resources that give them the freedom to take the next steps. This is exactly what the DISF provides – seeding an innovator’s next phase and launching them on a path towards commercialisation. Very few of the fantastic South African inventions supported over the last eight years by the DISF would have seen the light of day were it not for a fund like this,” says Erica Elk, Group CEO at the CDI, which manages the fund.
“We have put a significant amount of work into the grant offering, not only ensuring good governance and appropriate monitoring and evaluation measures, but realising real and sustainable impact with the businesses we support.”
Applications are open here until 5pm SAST on July 31.