NWU alumnus’ African Hut Mushroom Dome soon to be a reality
Sydwell Sihlangu, an alumnus of the North-West University (NWU), recently received the 2019 Grassroots Innovation Programme (GIP) award.
This support package to the value of R200 000 will provide funding and support for his African Hut Mushroom Dome innovation at a Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).
Mushrooms to strengthen food security
Sydwell’s project started during his master’s research when he cultivated oyster mushrooms, typically grown in subtropical regions, in the dry Mahikeng region with the leftover residue from crop harvests.
He says this project was an innovative leap forward to produce mushrooms at low cost as a food security initiative.
More about the programme
The GIP was launched by the Department of Science and Technology and aims to assist people with innovation ideas to market their innovations. Through the programme innovators obtain the necessary skills to understand their subject matter better and how to commercially market their inventions. They are also linked to subject matter experts and advanced facilities where their innovations can be developed further.
Besides funding, the programme also provides assistance with the development of technical and entrepreneurial skills, research, prototypes, and intellectual property protection, to name but a few.
Entering the entrepreneurial arena
“I am grateful that my work has secured a place for me on various platforms in the entrepreneurial arena,” he says.
“Thankfully my hard work and perseverance paid off. After many rejections and a lack of resources, the recognition and awards I’ve received are proof that this is a winning innovative idea.”
“I would also like to thank the co-innovator, Dr Khosi Ramachela from the subject group Crop Science, for believing in my work, and even more so the NWU for being the incubator which allowed me to grow and develop my ideas,” says Sydwell.
NWU alumnus Sydwell Sihlangu received the 2019 Grassroots Innovation Programme (GIP) award to make is innovation – the African Hut Mushroom Dome – a reality.