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Newsletter No 4, October 2014

Winner of the Global Innovation Award is Elvis Austin

Ms Vinny Pillay (Senior Science and Technology representative to the EU, South African Department of Science and Technology), Mr Elvis Austin of Nigeria (winner of the GIA award), and Mr Constantine Vaitsas (Deputy Head, International Cooperation Unit, FORTH/PRAXI NETWORK). View video
Winner of the GIA award, Elvis Austin of Nigeria, for SpellAfrica.

Mr Constantine Vaitsas, coordinator of ESASTAP Plus, interviewed Mr Elvis Austin after the award ceremony.
The Global Innovation Award (GIA) Ceremony took place as part of the Science/Business Summit on 7 October 2014 at the TU Berlin.

One aim of ESASTAP Plus is to provide a platform for innovation ideas between European and South-African research institutions and companies. This is why ESASTAP Plus sponsored the Global Innovation Award (GIA) 2014, which was presented for the first time, together with the Academic Enterprise Award (ACES) for European spin-out companies, at the Science/Business Summit 2014 in October.

Mmboneni Muofhe (Deputy Director General: Technology Innovation, Department of Science and Technology, Republic of South Africa) illustrated South Africa's position on "Overcoming the funding crisis – new ways to finance innovation". View presentation

While the ACES award already has a successful track record dating back to 2009, the GIA was awarded for start-ups outside the European Union (EU) for the first time in October 2014. At seventy applications, the response to the GIA was very high, with almost half coming from Africa, thanks to ESASTAP Plus advertising. Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia took part in the competition, producing a total of sixteen ideas. Fourteen innovations were submitted from South Africa.

A five-person committee, including representatives from ESASTAP Plus members, selected three finalists (two from South Africa and one from Nigeria). Together with the nine finalists for the ACES award, these entrants presented their innovations to the audience on 7 October 2014 in three-minute mini-lectures.

Elvis Austin from Nigeria received the GIA award for SpellAfrica, a low-cost smartphone program to help young people improve their English language skills.

SpellAfrica (Nigeria) - View pitch
Low-cost smartphone program to help young people improve their English language skills.

Mellowcabs (SA) - View pitch
Electric micro taxi cab for short journeys
Solar Plus Energy Investments (Pty) Ltd (SA) - View pitch
Solar energy supply systems for private households

View photographs taken during the Global Innovation Award (GIA) ceremony


This newsletter was compiled by the ESASTAP Plus project partners and edited at the
Project Management Agency c/o German Aerospace Center
European and International Cooperation
Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1, 53227 Bonn, Germany
phone: +49 228 3821-1461, fax: +49 228 3821-1400, e-mail:

  European Commission