CAPTION: South Africa’s highly anticipated innovation event, the SABC Education SA Innovation Summit 2016, is in full swing. Taking place from 21 – 24 September 2016, the Summit kicked off yesterday at the Birchwood Hotel in Ekurhuleni. Doctor Nkosindiphile Xhakaza (left), a member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development Finance and Information Communication Technology, welcomed attendees to this year’s event which promises to accelerate, innovate and ignite South Africa.

To drive innovation amongst the youth, the City of Ekurhuleni has installed Fabrication Laboratories (Fablabs) in Tembisa, Tsakane and Thokoza. These labs provide working spaces for inventors-in-the-making to explore and implement new solutions or ideas by using digital fabrications. Sherry Lassiter, head at the Fablab Foundation MIT in the United States, spoke about how Fabrication Laboratories have impacted the world with regards to improving education and creating entrepreneurship opportunities during her address. “Currently, there are more than a thousand labs in 87 countries. There is a lot that can be done to leverage off of this worldwide network of opportunity,” she explains.

Puleng Makhoalibe, Head of Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship at the Henley Business School, shared her passion for innovation in South Africa during her speech; touching on how to find creative solutions to everyday problems. “We feel very privileged to partner with the SA Innovation Summit, who strongly believes in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. We believe Africans are creative and that it is through creativity that new markets and new economies will be opened,” says Makhoalibe.

After the speeches, delegates could choose between five sessions, called Streams, to attend. In these Streams, speakers spoke about hot topics such as innovation entering South Africa, education in innovation and social innovation. “The only way we are going to solve social problems is through innovation. Social innovation holds a lot of promise in that it connects purpose and profits,” says Bridgit Evans, Head of the SAB Foundation and moderator of the Social Innovation Stream.

Yesterday concluded with presentations by prominent influencers from First National Bank, Edge Growth and the Department of Trade Industry, followed by a corporate networking session.

“The insights shared by the speakers demonstrate that innovators can inject the country with much-needed business, social and economic opportunities. The entrepreneurial journey, from a one-man-show to an established and successful business, is the golden thread throughout the Summit.,” says Audrey Verhaeghe, chairperson of the SABC Education SA Innovation Summit 2016. “Attendees will not be disappointed and can expect to experience more exciting activities during the next couple of days,” she adds.

Today, attendees can look forward to the official opening of the Match and Invest Lounge, a platform for businesses to connect with each other, and the Ventureburn Pitching Den, where previously selected finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

For more information on the not-to-be-missed SABC Education SA Innovation Summit: Ekurhuleni Chapter, taking place from 21 to 24 September 2016, please visit, email call +27(0)82 708 1960.