Inventors association seeks partners
Harare (New Ziana) –THE Zimbabwe Association of Inventors (ZAI) is scouting for partners to develop some of their designs into prototypes for commercial scale production, an official has said.
Ignatius Nyongo, the ZAI president, said lack of funding was preventing members from bringing their inventions onto the market because of costs associated with producing working prototypes, as the process required numerous experiments.
“We have a number of inventions, which are outstanding,” he said. “At the moment we have about eight significant projects which require funding.”
Nyongo said areas with inventions that required funding included automotive, which had two, namely ball joints and an anti-collision device; carbon emission reduction; agriculture and communication.
“The partners could be either venture capitalists, who can provide funding which will be paid back with calculated interest, or they could partner in manufacturing and then share the profits,” he said.
The amounts required ranged from US$300 000 to US100 000 to produce 100 prototype units for the market.
The idea behind seeking partners came after recognising that it was not the role of the Government to avail inventors with funding to develop their inventions.
“The role of the Government is to create conditions for inventors to reach a certain stage in developing their innovations,” he explained.
ZIA appreciated the role that the Zimbabwe government was playing in assisting inventors throughout the country to carry out their work.
“For the past 20 years, we have been using offices of the Government and it is the only Government in Africa which is doing that,” he said.
ZAI was founded on 13 October 2001 by a handful of inventors with the support of the Patent Office (now Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office (ZIPO), the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the African Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), the Scientific and Industrial Research Development Centre (SIRDC); the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), law firm Honey and Blackenberg, and BW Kahari Legal Practitioners.
It works as a Non-Statutory Supporting Agency of the Ministry of Science and Technology Development (MSTD). It is a member of the International Federation of Inventors Associations (IFIA) and closely interacts with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),a specialized United Nations Agency on technology based in Switzerland.
The association aims primarily to improve the living standards of the people through fostering invention by organising, guiding and promoting new and old inventors in the country, promoting national economic growth and employment creation through the commercialisation of inventions, creating new industries, and encouraging invention for sustainable economic growth.