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Ocean impact start-ups to steer the ocean economy in Cape Town

Leaders in sustainable development of the ocean economy gathered in Cape Town last month for Ocean Innovation Africa, Africa’s blue economy summit, at the V&A Waterfront.

Leaders in sustainable development of the ocean economy gathered in Cape Town last month for Ocean Innovation Africa, Africa’s blue economy summit, at the V&A Waterfront.

Published Dec 14, 2021

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Cape Town - With the growth of the blue economy in South Africa, OceanHub, a Cape Town-based accelerator of ocean-impact start-ups, together with Catalyze Events, revealed the most promising ocean-impact innovations showcased at the Ocean Innovation Africa (OIA) summit in Cape Town this year.

The UN Ocean Decade-endorsed hybrid event saw over 100 ocean-impact exhibitors, 70 expert speakers, and 650 delegates directly involved in the African ocean economy that collaborated together to ensure its sustainable growth through expert panels covering ocean-based solutions to climate change, ocean data and the blue economy of small island developing states.

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The event showcased hundreds of ocean-impact start-ups by entrepreneurs to highlight opportunities for investors along with industry-focused discussions on fishing, seaweed, shipping, ports, ocean sports, coastal tourism and plastics.

OceanHub Africa chief executive officer Alexis Grosskopf said: “We believe that innovations based in science, technology and entrepreneurship will provide the leverage to catalyse blue growth in Africa at the pace and scale necessary to address both the current oceans crisis and the socio-economic needs of coastal communities.”

Grosskopf said some of the most promising African ocean-impact innovations included Inseco, Brayfoil, Soso Care, Coral AI and SharkSafe Barrier - which showcased innovative business models and technologies that tackled ocean pollution, over-exploitation and the effect of climate change on the ocean.

They also look at innovative finance and policies to enable the transition and growth of a sustainable and equitable ocean economy.

Economic Growth Mayco member James Vos said: “There were some really innovative projects on display, ranging from ocean safety devices like that of the magnetic shark deterrent made to mimic a kelp forest, through to some great ocean sports offerings as well as innovations in the aquaculture and renewable energy fields.”

Vos said that the overall highlight of the event was the huge diversity and potential of the oceans economy in Cape Town and the many entrepreneurs that were making huge waves in this sector of the economy.

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Catalyze Events chief executive officer Rex Bowden said they intend to host an official Ocean Week in Cape Town next year, with OIA looking to secure its name as a top 10 ocean event on the circuit of events that the industry cannot overlook.

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Cape Argus

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