Mfolozi's innovation will underpin medical breakthrough

02 October 2009 | Story by Newsroom

Dr Sipho MfoloziBig thinker: Dr Sipho Mfolozi has won the UCT leg of the Student Business Plan Competition.

UCT postgraduate student Dr Sipho Mfolozi has many reasons to thank the National Innovation Fund's Student Business Plan Competition.

Mfolozi, a registrar in the Division of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, not only pocketed R50 000 for winning the UCT leg, but the competition has also provided the impetus to start a business.

His idea is for a NecroChronometer, which he says will help pathologists to accurately calculate the postmortem interval, the time interval between the death and when the NecroChronometer is used on a corpse. This interval becomes important for police investigation.

Mfolozi, who graduated as a medical doctor at UCT in 2001, said this is one of his many inventions.

"But none of my ideas has gone any further. The competition required me to write a business plan, something I have never done before. It said to me: stop collecting ideas, work on one idea and make it a success. Others will follow. I hope this will be a door-opener."

The competition, held every second year, is run by the Innovation Fund, established by the Department of Science and Technology to boost technological innovation among university students.

It is divided into institutional and national phases. The winner in the first phase takes home R50 000, and the top three entries are included in the national leg. The national champion will pocket R300 000 and may participate in an international competition.

Thanks to the competition requirements, Mfolozi, who is doing master's of medicine in forensic pathology, is working on registering his business in time for the national leg of the competition in January.

"By that time I should have a prototype ready, and I should have set up the business."

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