Six new ventures will collectively be benefiting from €100,000 to take their ideas closer to commercialisation.
This was announced during the latest TAKEOFF Seed Fund Awards (TOSFA) Ceremony held on 22 July 2020, with the winners being :
Bald no more - A team of University of Malta researchers to perform basic toxicity testing on the novel components of a product aiming to treat alopecia, or male pattern baldness;
Altered - A research team aiming to create a diagnostic tool to get to know which DNA profiles make a person more responsive to treatment for haemoglobinophaties;
Smart Materials Ltd - a team who have developed a patent pending production method for producing polyurethane foam for personal protective equipment;
Fortify - a new meal prep company providing gym goers with fresh meals;
Revyl - an event-based platform based on both outdoor events & the sports market;
Gainchanger 1.1 - an automated off-page SEO tool helping businesses improve their rankings.
These ideas were chosen from among the record 44 applications received, after the call for the 7th cycle of TOSFA was launched earlier this year by the Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, Hon. Silvio Schembri.
A total of 51 beneficiaries have been awarded over the past seven years.
Speaking at the ceremony, Hon. Schembri said that it is during such testing times as the current pandemic that the most remarkable ideas come to fruition, and the current government has continuously and proudly shown its commitment to nurture the next great ideas. "As a small state, we have always punched above our weight, advocating about the importance of bolstering creative thinking", he continued.
UM Rector, Prof. Alfred J. Vella, also in attendance, commented: "It is good to see that TOSFA looks at what is happening around us beyond the COVID-19 virus, as it is proof of how the University not just prepares students for their professions and helps place them in a place of work, but it also takes an active interest on them becoming their own idea generators. Academic knowledge is practical and the TOSFA programme clearly shows how universities should be rooted in the economy."
During the ceremony, past awardees spoke about their pre, during and post-TOSFA experience, with the creators of LEARND saying that coming across TAKEOFF "structured the way we understand the challenges of taking this (the portal for finding a tutor to help with one-on-one education) from a simple idea to an actual product, but ultimately it allowed us to become better people by developing our leadership skills."
Prof. Joseph Buhagiar, who is one of the researchers on the Bald no more team, also delivered a speech, thanking TOSFA for bringing ideas to fruition through the appropriate funding. "Without this initiative, much valuable research would still be locked in a drawer", he said.
Over the next year, the winning teams will be working closely with the TAKEOFF Business Incubator within the University of Malta’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation (CEBI) and the Knowledge Transfer Office to bring their ideas closer to commercialisation.
More information about last year’s awardees may be found online.