The State of Innovation in KwaZulu-Natal

Cover of the State of Innovation in KZN 2019 reportLumec was appointed by Innovate Durban in both 2019 and 2020 to develop KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) first Innovation Publication which shows the state of innovation in KZN. The objective of the publication is to provide stakeholders in the ecosystem, including innovators, investors and government, with up to date information and trends in the innovation space. The publication is a compilation of numerous indicators that are used to measure the level of innovation in the province. Furthermore, the publication showcases innovators from KZN who are at varying stages of development in the innovation pipeline. An additional output from the project was the development of a dashboard which allows stakeholders to interact with the indicators and provides access to videos and interviews of the KZN’s innovators.

The publication measures innovation under the following categories:

  • People relates to the human capital and knowledge generated that enables and accelerates innovation and creativity. Critical skills such as those developed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses are seen as crucial for economic growth and development. Knowledge also measures new ideas in the form of patents, as well as new research produced by researchers and doctoral students. 
  • Investment describes the amount of investment in terms of rand value that is directed towards innovation, research and development in various sectors.
  • Infrastructure measures internet access in KZN in comparison to other provinces in South Africa.
  • Ecosystem relates to the environment within which innovation takes place and includes events and funding instruments. 
  • Lastly, the impact category measures the benefits of innovation across various areas including revenue, employment and economy.

An excerpt from the 2020 State of Innovation in KwaZulu-Natal

The State of Innovation in KwaZulu-Natal report cover 2020

“KZN remains a top performer in the number of enrolments and graduates across the maths, science and engineering fields at secondary schools, TVETs and Universities. UKZN is ranked first in South Africa for the number of PhD graduates and publication outputs. The value of investment increased across all indicators in the year of review. The 40 innovatio

n events and 405 funding instruments relevant to innovators in KZN reflect a strong and growing innovation ecosystem.

Despite growth in these areas, it is concerning that R&D expenditure and venture capital investment still remains significantly lower than in Gauteng and the Western Cape. Furthermore, the number of KZN households that have internet access is below the national average of 64.7%, at 59.4%. Through numerous programmes aimed at providing support and funding to startups, as well as penetrating low-income areas through innovation labs, Innovate Durban aims to make a positive impact on these indicators and hopes to see continued growth in coming years.

Innovate Durban is proud to showcase five new innovators in this edition and encourages innovators to take note of their advice and learn from their experiences. A theme across innovators is the importance of staying dedicated and being willing to devote time and resources to the innovation in order to achieve success”. 

Access the 2019 and 2020 Innovation Publications here.