TAKEOFF awards grants to five projects

(Minister Evarist Bartolo at the awarding ceremony. source: UM media)

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Five teams of entrepreneurs and researchers have received an accumulated grant of €100,000 in the sixth cycle of the TAKEOFF Seed Fund Awards, held at the University of Malta today, according to a press statement sent to Business Malta. Some 26 submissions to the Seed Fund were narrowed to the top eleven projects for pitching to the Adjudication Team before the best five were selected.

The final winners of the Proof of Concept category were: Pregnancy Risk Chip — to develop an easier, earlier way of detecting pregnancy complications — and iFoot — to assess foot pressure and temperature, adapting to different scenarios of walking and taking active participation in offloading areas of high peak plantar pressure during walking.

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The winners of the Seed Fund category were: SmartAgriFarmsR&D — to focus on the research and development of hydroponic farming in Malta, specialising in the formulation of hydroponic solutions —, Phileae — targeting the perfume niche brand market, allowing customers to personalise their scent —, and iSmart – focussing on creating solutions to improve reading comprehension, especially for those with learning difficulties (dyslexia, ADHD and other auditory or visual problems).

The teams will be working closely with the TAKEOFF Business Incubator and the University’s Knowledge Transfer Office over the next year in a bid to bring their ventures closer to commercialisation.

“Education can contribute to society’s well being and prosperity if teaching and research prepare us to intervene effectively in the real world and help us solve problems and improve reality through knowledge, skills and a moral commitment to change society for the better,” Minister for Education and Employment, Evarist Bartolo said when presenting the grants today.

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“During the last six years, TOSFA supported 45 beneficiaries in developing further their ideas while helped others to commercialise them. Over this period, a total of €600,000 of funds were disbursed, helping and supporting very good ideas to flourish and grow and at the same time collaborating with already established companies. The ideas are diverse and come from numerous sectors ranging from Health, Energy, Technology, Artisans,” said Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, Nancy Caruana, at the University of Malta TAKEOFF Business Incubator today.

“The University of Malta is keen to continue supporting funds such as the TAKEOFF Seed Fund as it is an aid for entrepreneurship and research commercialisation. Every year the considerable number of applications received shows the interest from both entrepreneurs as well as researchers at the University of Malta,” Prof Saviour Zammit said.

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Prof Saviour Zammit, Pro-Rector for Research and Knowledge Transfer, presided over the Award Ceremony, which was also attended by, Prof Russell Smith, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation, and Anton Bartolo, Director of the Knowledge Transfer Office.

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