SANSA and the NRF Launch Fund to Increase Competitiveness of SMMEs

SANSA and the NRF Launch Fund to Increase Competitiveness of SMMEs

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA), in partnership with the National Research Foundation (NRF) and TuksNovation, has launched the New Earth Observation Frontiers Enterprise Innovation Support Fund (NEOFrontiersEISF), an initiative developed to support Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the transformation of space-based ideas into products and services designed to increase the competitiveness of the South African Earth Observation sector. This initiative is a sub-program of NEOFrontiers, which is funded by SANSA and managed by the NRF to support skills, technology and product development.

Dr Zolani Dyosi, Director: Knowledge Advancement and Support (KAS) at the NRF, delivered the keynote address at the Earth Observations Stakeholder Engagement Workshop on 15 February 2024, where he highlighted the new initiative between SANSA and the NRF. The workshop was hosted by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), SANSA; the Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR); and the National Earth Observation and Space Secretariat.

“Through this programme, SMMEs that do not have the technical capabilities will be supported by academic experts in the development of their ideas to technology solutions and products. Other Government agencies, such as the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), Innovation Hub, and Small Enterprise Development Agency through its technology incubator, TuksNovation, will also contribute to support these SMMEs, especially with product development,” added Dr Dyosi.

A call for entrepreneurs to submit funding applications has been published with a deadline of 15 March 2024. The proposals that will be considered will focus on novel uses of Earth Observation in areas of applications and product development in the banking, insurance, mining, health innovation and community-based services as well as cross-cutting service areas/decision support tools to support the circular economy; blue economy; security and defence; food security/precision agriculture; disaster risk reduction; and early warning systems.

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