The Upstarts innovation incubation programme - brainchild of billionaire Mark Shuttleworth - aims to help South Africa's budding entrepreneurs turn their innovations into viable business ideas that are ready for the market.
African Oxygen Limited has won the Technology Top 100 award for South Africa's most outstanding technological innovation of 2003 for its world benchmark escape type breathing units or "AfroxPacs" - self-contained self-rescuers that are carried by underground miners for use in emergency situations.
The department of trade and industry has launched a Competitiveness Fund that provides financial support to qualifying entrepreneurs, allocating grants that cover up to 50% of their running costs.
Stellenbosch-based Swist Group Technologies launched its Oracle software offering for the Linux environment at Oracle's international AppsWorld conference in London last month - the only South African company to exhibit a developed open source product at the conference.
AltX, Africa's first alternative exchange for small to medium and growing companies, is riding the wave of the private sector's bullish sentiment about the South African economy with a number of important new listings.
Local and foreign investors looking for black economic empowerment partners in the IT, telecoms and electronics sectors can now consult an online database of information on South African BEE companies, based on a solid, layered definition of empowerment, and growing all the time.
South Africas bid to commercialise biotechnology is forging ahead with the setting up of three new regional innovation centres, the first of which has just been launched in Johannesburg.
Worth an estimated R3.4-billion a year, the South African crafts industry is providing an income for many who would otherwise be out in the cold, as displays at the recent World Summit showed.
As large enterprises have restructured and downsized small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) have come to play an increasingly important role in South Africa's economy and development.
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