National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) has awarded grants totaling MK40 million to four youthful innovators who met the requirements for the grants.
Through its Science and Technology Fund, the Commission is providing financing to innovators by way of loan or grants by or for the benefit of persons or organizations engaged in research matters relating to the development of science and technology.
It also provides awards to any person qualified for the grant to him of an award under the Science and Technology Act of 2003.
NCST Chief Technology Transfer Officer, Isaac Chingota, said the four awarded innovators are among the 30 that responded to the Commission’s calls for proposals last year for the innovators in the electronics sector to apply for grants.
Chingota said the grants are aimed at empowering the innovators to improve and increase their products and production.
“Following the applications that came through and the shortlisting, we had about eight that went through the two stages of assessment. Now, this is the final stage whereby the need now to explain before a panel of judges, what their product is, what it does, and more importantly, how it contributes to the economy. For example, issues around import substitution, issues about the potential for exports and things and also the need to explain present their business model for potential support from the Commission,” he explained.
Chingota said it is high time the science community started to demonstrate by doing and showing the solutions they have to the challenges the country is facing.
He said he expected the awardees to use the grants to find solutions to the foreign exchange problems, particularly by coming up with electronics that can replace imported ones.
DEK Engineering and Electrical Contractors of Blantyre, manufacturers of Eka-Life LED bulbs, one of the awardees.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Kwizombe, expressed gratitude for the grant, saying it will help him increase production for sale in the country’s chain stores.
“Currently, our bulbs are only found in Ekhaya Shops. But the demand for our bulbs is growing and we plan to stock them in all leading chain stores in Malawi and this grant has just come at the right time,” he reacted.