New platform for early stage innovation | News | Small Business Connect

Mike Morris

Entrepreneurs with technology offerings or products aimed at solving challenges that industry face have been given an opportunity to secure possible contracts and business support through a new online platform.

OpenIX, previously known as the Open Innovation Solution Exchange, is a web-based platform hosted by The Innovation Hub, launched with the City of Tshwane and the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability. Paul Plantinga, specialist in innovation strategy projects at The Innovation Hub, says the OpenIX process helps collaborators to identify technologies at a relatively early stage in their development – for example, at prototype stage or close to commercialisation.

The platform provides a channel for businesses to launch new products, or to adapt existing ones for a new application.

Entrepreneurs can also apply to post their emerging technology as a “technology offer” on the OpenIX platform.

“We will promote these technology offerings on our database of potential customers and partners,” says Plantinga.

Entrepreneurs whose products show potential will then be invited to join The Innovation Hub’s incubator where they can access technical, business and intellectual property services as well as seed funding of up to R1.5 million.

Businesses in all sectors and from across the country can respond to challenges at no cost.

Applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but typically The Innovation Hub looks at the maturity level and the market potential of the proposed offer. Preference will be given to late-stage research and development prototypes, as well as to complete or granted patents and to design registrations.

Plantinga says they have run ten challenges so far and three solutions to these challenges are currently being implemented.

“We have not tracked outcomes in terms of technology offer deals, but to date we have posted more than 40 technology offers,” says Platinga.

One of the innovators who participated in the platform and owner of Meniko Records Management, Mike Morris, says his company offered its technology to address a challenge in the medical industry relating to the duplication of chronic medication dispensing.

The company developed hardware and software to facilitate paperless transactions in business processes, which included bio-metric profiling and the verification.

“Our solution offers significant benefits for enrollment and business processes within various markets,” says Morris.

He received an offer for their technology solution and a pilot process is currently being rolled out.

  •  Visit www.openix.theinnovationhub.com for more information.