09 July 2019

The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) Set to Address Challenges in the Health, Education, Agriculture and Tourism Sectors Through Open Innovation in the SADC Region

Submitted by Alana Kruger
  • The open innovation projects fall under the Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) Programme funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Finland);
  • RIIS partners with the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), and Brynston Creations to complete the planned projects;
  • The first two projects tailored for the Agriculture and Tourism sectors to launch 22 July 2019;
  • Successful challenge entrants to receive support, including a three-month incubation at BITRI which includes pitching training, business validation assistance and the opportunity to potentially receive start-up funding from relevant venture capitalists.  

Johannesburg, 9 July 2019 – The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS), along with their Batswana partners; The Botswana Institute for Technology, Research and Innovation (BITRI) and Brynston Creations, launched the second Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme, aimed at addressing challenges in the Health, Education, Agriculture and Tourism (HEAT) sectors through open innovation in the SADC region. 

Funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the first two challenges launching 22 July will focus on the Agriculture and Tourism sectors. The planned agriculture open innovation project will concentrate on ensuring food security for the future of Africa while considering soil fertility, mitigating the risk of climate change, human-animal conflict and agricultural technology adoption. The tourism open innovation challenge aims to ensure the sector as a stable income for the continent through empowering women in tourism, lowering the prevailing 80/20 tourism-spend ratio between large and small tourism players, and recreating “Brand Africa”. 

At an event held in Johannesburg, RIIS Executive Clen Cook, said: “This whole programme is designed to foster collaboration which will enable innovation that crosses borders. By using the open innovation approach, entrepreneurs from all walks of life and means are provided with a platform into the market. We encourage all who want to help address the challenges we face in the SADC region to participate. Through RIIS, BITRI, and SAIS we will do our part through the provision of extensive support, training, and development, as well as potential access to funds, to make all start-ups identified in these challenges a success.” 

More information around this latest initiative can be found on https://www.oiregionalconnect.com/.

Contact: Alana Kruger
Project Manager
Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) 

Switchboard: +27 12 012 5015
Cell: +27 72 607 0332
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Science and Education