A vibrant funding pitch session and an exciting session with industry-nominated young trailblazers, bookmarked another successful Cape Health Tech Week, presented for the first time virtually by Wesgro.
Supported by key stakeholders, and active players in the Western Cape’s health technology ecosystem, Cape Health Tech Week provided practical insights and insider’s views across topics ranging from funding and support to localisation, regulations and innovations.
In total, there were 12 live webinar sessions, featuring 24 industry experts, from both government and private sector, providing vital insights and regulatory guidance to those operating in the Western Cape health sector. On top of the live sessions, there was also the opportunity for attendees to book one-on-one sessions with stakeholders at the event, providing them the opportunity to address regulatory and administrative bottlenecks with national and local regulatory bodies.
The Cape Health Tech Week further highlighted the continued efforts by government and private sector to collaborate on growing the health tech sector in the province. The Western Cape Health Department, Provincial Treasury, Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the City of Cape Town all provided information on the support available to local businesses in the sector, with the South African Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) providing clarity on regulatory requirements.
In a video message to Cape Health Tech Week attendees, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, expressed his support for the sector, “The health technology sector is an important sector for us in the Western Cape as it currently contributes an estimated R1.7 billion to the provincial economy and creates approximately 2 500 full-time jobs in the Western Cape. And so, it’s no wonder that the Western Cape boasts a number of highly innovative digi-health companies. We have the overwhelming evidence that Cape Town is Africa’s leading tech capital.”
Highlights for the week included the Funding Pitching Session and the ‘Who’s doing what’ panel that caught up with some of the industry’s trailblazers under the age of 35.
The Funding Pitching Sessions provided Health Tech companies the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a funding panel consisting of both public and private funders in a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style format. In total, nine companies pitched during a highly-engaged, and positive session, which certainly set the tone for the week ahead. I
On the final day, TV and radio personality, Liezel van der Westhuizen, engaged with four of the youngest rising stars in the local industry – Erik Post (CrunchCure), Giancarlo Beukes and Gokul Nair (Impulse Biomedical) and Heidi Wilson (BMEC Technologies) – to chat about their innovative work in the industry. The session was energetic and positive, providing session attendees with fantastic insight into the work being done by some of the industry’s most innovative minds and showed that the industry is poised for cutting edge health innovation.
Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, said: “The City’s ability to focus on, support and capitalise on the high-growth sectors to drive demand that makes business sense, is what makes Cape Town’s economic landscape so favourable. We have a wealth of services available to retain, attract and expand investment, that will lead to jobs. Cape Town is also the start-up capital of the country and the perfect place for start-ups who provide innovative solutions in the health-tech sector. For our part, the City will continue to focus on and support this sector so we can build an even stronger tech-ecosystem that benefits our residents.”
Cape Town and the Western Cape has a thriving health tech industry and burgeoning research and development (R&D) landscape, four top universities, a multitude of academic hospitals and world-class infrastructure. All of this, and more, was on display throughout the Cape Health Tech Week.
In closing, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris said: "Cape Town and the Western Cape has a thriving health tech industry, with a strong collaboration between public and private sector players a great strength of the local eco-system. This was further highlighted at Cape Health Tech Week and it's clear that the sector is in robust health."