. The Social Impact Incubator (SII) Malawi, an initiative by United States (US)-based Segal Family Foundation, says Malawi needs to embrace innovations for national development.
SII programmes and communications coordinator Isabel Kumwembe said this on Monday in an interview on the sidelines of the SII exhibition in Lilongwe which attracted about 55 firms that exhibited their innovations.
The innovations ranged from science, agriculture, social and information and communication technology (ICT), among others.
She said the organisers decided this year to involve the public to allow participation of individuals who have brilliant ideas but lack a platform to showcase them.
Said Kumwembe: “This year we have grown big because we collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme, knowing they are also doing the Malawi Talk programme where Malawians talk about their innovations. We believe this is a topic that is important for national development but is not being talked about.”
She said SII seeks organisations that are struggling in their early stages to help them grow.
“Growth is achieved by providing them with finance which are small grants, issues of capacity building, communication, as well as monitoring and evaluation, systems management and correct registration. After seven months they register growth in their operations,” she said.
The University of Malawi’s Polytechnic electrical engineering lecturer Stanley Mbewe, who showcased science innovation products with students, described the SII incubator as critical for budding scientists.
The students were showcasing a robotics science programme, design studio and a mosquito killer innovation.
He said: “The main goal of the robotics programme is to introduce young children in Malawi to science, technology, engineering and mathematics [Stem].
“We want to reach children at a tender age and we would like to establish clubs in primary, secondary schools as well as colleges to give them materials to use in building a robot.”
Mbewe said children learn mechanical engineering in building a robot and computer engineering in programming a robot to move, while also enhancing team work and collaboration skills through the exercise.
Earlier this year, Nation Publications Limited (NPL) emerged SII 2019 Cohort Pitch Competition overall winner after presenting an impressive pitch of its flagship annual Mother’s Fun Run project. NPL received $10 000 (about K7.6 million), followed by Centre for Youth and Development who pocketed $5 000 (about K3.8 million)