The second INDIAFRICA Business Venture competition, a part of the INDIAFRICA Festival held last week in Johannesburg, South Africa, offered immense hope for the future of innovation.
Of the two Grand Prizes for innovation, one was won by a team from Nigeria, Team Jorsey Ashbel Farms, comprising Ayuba Ashbel Ngalabak and Blessing Oritseweyinmi. The other went to Team Life Catalyst Technologies of India, consisting of three students from IIT, Madras - Sagar Laygude, Rajashekar Palavalli and Namrata Kamat.
Oritseweyinmi and Laygude, who represented their respective teams at the festival, will next travel to Davos with the organizers of the INDIAFRICA programme, IdeaWorks, during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in January 2014, to share their plans with CEOs and investors from all over the world. The entire exercise is also supported by the ministry of external affairs.
The team from Nigeria presented an alternative feed made from mango seeds for Nigeria's livestock, which would reduce the cost of raising livestock by 40 to 60 per cent. Livestock is kept by many among the poorest farmers of that country. Adopting this feed will increase their earnings from selling livestock products by the same amount.
The organisers had assigned mentors to most of the teams. Niyi Yusuf, CEO, Accenture, Nigeria, and Raja Manohar, CEO, Hexolab Technologies, Chennai, respectively mentored the two winning teams.
The IIT Madras team makes innovative products using advancements in biotechnology. For the competition, it worked on blood glucose monitoring for the Indian diabetic population, through a simple-to-use low cost blood glucose sensor called Rubellite Glucose Sensor.
Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and Wits Business School, Johannesburg were the institutional partners for the competition.