GIS – 27 November 2018: The National Innovation Challenge 2018 Award was presented yesterday to Mr Cédric Azémia for his innovative ‘Mausafe’ App project. The winner received a cash prize of Rs 500,000 during a ceremony held at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Tower, in Ebène Cybercity. This competition, in its first edition this year, aims at uncovering and fostering local and professional innovations created by Mauritians working in a variety of fields from academia, start-ups and micro companies, SMEs, communities to local schools and home inventions.
The Mauritius Research Council (MRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation launched the National Innovation Challenge to showcase, nurture and reward ideas leading to potentially life changing solutions proposed by the Mauritian population.
The winning project under the thematic ‘Crime and Violence’ pertains to an Application which would rapidly connect a person who finds himself in danger to ask for assistance from service-providers such as ambulance, firefighters, police and clinics. The App also connects the person at risk to his relatives in cases of peril.
In his address at the Award ceremony, the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Yogida Sawmynaden, stated that it is through innovation that Mauritius will develop its competitive advantage and distinguish its markets and products while enhancing job creation and wealth generation.
According to the Minister, the aim is to make Mauritius move away from the middle-income trap to become a high-income country in the years to come and this transition cannot be achieved until and unless creativity and innovation becomes a driving force for creating and fostering new ventures.
In addition, the Minister pointed out that the National Innovation Challenge is of high relevance considering the vision of Government to make Mauritius an innovation-based economy and SMEs one of the pillars of the economy. Therefore, he said, dedicating awards specially to recognise innovation and to give innovators a national profile is a significant step in further instilling the culture of innovation in the next generation. It is also crucial in changing the mindsets of people from habitual thinking to novel thinking, he emphasised.
Five thematic areas of national relevance were chosen: Traffic and Road Safety; Crime and Violence; Disaster Management; Public Transportation; and Food Security, Safety and Wastage.
Following the deadline for the submission of innovative ideas, the MRC received about 120 applications. A pre-selection exercise was carried out by a Jury of local experts for each thematic area and a total of 50 ideas (10 for each category) were preselected for the auditions. The audition exercise was carried out in March 2018 whereby the candidates had to pitch their ideas and also respond to questions from the Jury.
After deliberations by the Jury, seven finalists were selected for the proof of concept phase. In this phase, the participants were provided a seed funding not exceeding Rs 75,000 and a three-month period to further refine their ideas/concept and come up with a business plan/prototype.
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