CAPTION: (above) The hearScreen mobile application, which allows phone users to test for hearing loss using a purpose built application and a pair of calibrated headsets, was the winner of the 2015 SA Innovation Summit Pitching Den competition. The City of Ekurhuleni is getting ready to welcome top innovators at this year’s SA Innovation Summit, taking place from 21 to 24 September 2016 at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre.

South Africa’s innovation event-of-the-year, the 2016 SA Innovation Summit, is set to transform the City of Ekurhuleni into an innovation hub. The programme promises to keep entrepreneurs, innovators, thought-leaders, policymakers and inventors stimulated and entertained with exciting innovation activities.

Annually, the Summit serves as the highlight of the South African innovation calendar. “This year, we expect nothing less than life-changing innovations. At the 2015 Summit, we were introduced to remarkable innovative ideas such as South Africa’s first national hearing test called hearScreen, that won the Pitching Den competition,” says Dr Audrey Verhaeghe, SA Innovation Summit Chairperson. The uniquely designed hearScreen mobile application allows phone users to test for hearing loss using a purpose built application and a pair of calibrated headsets.

“We met hearScreen at the 2015 SA Innovation Summit that took place in Cape Town. Our Executive Director, Sonja Giese, was one of the judges at the Pitching Den competition. A Pretoria-based audiologist, De Wet Swanepoel, introduced hearScreen and was looking for funding for the mobile phone application. The Innovation Edge offered hearScreen funding to adapt the product for use in early learning centres and schools,” says Erika Wiese, ‎Innovation Portfolio Manager at The Innovation Edge, a platform which funds and supports bold ideas with the potential to improve early learning amongst South Africa’s most marginalised children.

The Pitching Den competition is a popular platform for high-growth and start-up companies to pitch their innovative ideas, prototypes and inventions to a panel of judges. “Thanks to our fantastic partners including, the SAB Foundation, Tekes, The Innovation Edge and Spoor & Fisher and their sponsorship of  some of these winners, we are able to breathe life into ideas that give South Africa the innovation edge needed,” adds Verhaeghe.

This year’s Pitching Den winner will represent South Africa at the Startup World Cup Grand Finale and will compete alongside 15 other start-ups from all over the world for a chance to win a US $1,000,000 prize in investment. The Startup World Cup Grand Finale will be taking place on 24 March 2016 in San Francisco.

Delegates can expect to see other exciting activities in the programme such as Match & Invest, a business tool that connects business people as well as the popular Hackathon, sponsored by Santam Limited with the aim of offering innovators an opportunity to build something brand new, disruptive and radical that will change the insurance landscape.

“We urge South Africans with a passion for innovation to join us at this year’s innovation event of the year. It promises to inspire, ignite and accelerate innovative thinking,” concludes Verhaeghe.

For more information on the 2016 SA Innovation Summit taking place from 21 to 24 September 2016 in Ekurhuleni, please visit, email or call +27(0)82 708 1960.