4IR Aquatech Accelerator Programme tackles water, food and energy challenges in Africa

The year 2021 marks 27 years since the dawn of democracy in South Africa. In celebration of this commemoration, ICRD Group Holdings kick-started the first 4IR Aquatech Accelerator Programme together with 27 entrepreneurs who are ready to hack the future for 4IR-enabled water-energy-food nexus sustainable solutions.

It’s a six months mentorship driven programme which started on 31st May 2021. The Accelerator programme is designed to identify, develop, support, fund, and up-scale a new generation of 4IR enabled solutions. It includes masterclasses, workshops, excursions, one-on-one coaching, networking, and client projects implementation.

Through this accelerator programme, entrepreneurs are provided with tools and resources to build their solutions; create strong business models, perfect their pitch and launch their businesses. A collective of business development experts in water, sanitation and resource management are also part of this programme, offering high level business coaching and mentorship.

When ICRD Group Holdings established the 4IR Aquatech water security project in 2018, it was determined to be a great solution that would match the Fourth Industrial Revolution tools with challenges faced by stakeholders in the water, energy and food sector. “Our objective with this programme is to scale 100 start-ups in the next five years and to achieve this goal, ICRD Group has brought together a relevant number of key stakeholders to become part of the programme”, said Mr Lucky Litelu, Founder of ICRD Group Holding.

Inpartnership with EWSETA, Estern Cape office of the Premier and Geekulcha, one of the key public facing events which forms part of the programme is the 4IR Aquatech socio-technical debate which took place on Thursday 24 June. The debate  sought to develop a stakeholder-qualified problem statement which was to be used at the Hackathan on Saturday and Sunday to address the water-energy-food nexus challenges in the Eastern Cape. In his opening address during the socio technical debate, Director-General for the Eastern Cape, Mr. Mbulelo Sogoni, stated: “Without the leadership provided by the CEO of EWSETA, we would not be here today.” The event was also premiered Live on Youtube, see here.

Just a day after the socio-technical debate, followed the 4IR Aquatech Hackathon, which took place from Saturday 26 June until Sunday 27 June. This was a 36hours event which brought together a number of entrepreneurs from all around the country to try and find solutions for the water-energy-food nexus challenges in the Eastern Cape province. A number of innovative solutions came out of the Hackathon, with top three winners getting cash prizes alongside digital certificates for everyone who participated in the event, 1st prize R10 000, 2nd prize R7 500 and R5 000 for the 3rd prize.

Going forward, the programme continues until the end of six months and these young entrepreneurs will continue to be equipped through masterclasses and workshops. Entrepreneurs are also fortunate to be having access to the Entreprenerdy platform which helps them to strategically build and formulate their business models as well as completing activities which of course can be guided by their mentors if any challenges arise.

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