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Innovation is Africa’s growth opportunity, says Nkholise

Nneile Nkholise

Nneile Nkholise

Nneile Nkholise is an engineer by profession and the founder and Director of IMed Tech, a South Africa-based firm specialising in innovative medical technology. IMed Tech focuses on hiring young female mechanical engineers to design breast and facial prostheses for cancer and burn victims. Nkholise is of the conviction that; patients with maxillofacial deformations or those who have lost external facial features like noses or diseases like accidents and cancers can get the medical assistance they need. She intends to make available quality artificial replacements that would make life easier for those who are in need of medical prostheses. But most importantly, that they can get the medical assistance they need conveniently and cheaply.She was named as the winner of South African Breweries Foundation Social Innovation awards in 2015. She was the winner of people’s choice award and development award through her work of developing breast prosthesis using additive manufacturing.Also, she was one of the World Economic Forum 2016 on Africa’s top female innovators through her work of developing breast prosthesis using additive manufacturing to help women who lose breasts due to breast cancer. And also picked by World Economic Forum on Africa as the top female African innovator for 2016. And in June 2016, she was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs at Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016, which held in Silicon Valley, San Francisco.
At the World Economic Forum on Africa 2016, which held in Rwanda, DOLAPO AINA, had an interview with Nneile Nkholise.

Do let the readers know who you are, what you do and why you are at World Economic Forum on Africa in Rwanda?
I am Nneile Nkholise and I am originally from Bloemfontein in South Africa. I am a mechanical and Masters Student at Central University of Technology. I am also the founder of IMed Tech that does medical prosthesis with segmented on the external facial prosthesis and the breast prosthesis using additive manufacturing and 3D printing. And I am also one of the top five African innovators selected by World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 in Rwanda.

What makes what you do different?
What makes it different is that we apply digital technology and 3D Printing which are some of the most important aspects within the Fourth Industrial Revolution that Africa needs to develop a lot more. And also, to find lasting solutions to some of the medical challenges we face within Africa.

What are some of the successes you have had?
Being selected as one of the top Five female innovators in Africa and also been recognised by my country South Africa for my innovation and social impact is one of my biggest successes. And most importantly, being a young woman and been able to have flourished a lot more within the public health sector that I get to reach even the most remote places in South Africa and also scale up within Africa because this is not just an answer to South Africa only. It is an answer to the African Continent; that needs our products. The demand is high. We have a lot of cancer survivors and the cancer survivors’ rate in Africa is growing and thus a lot of people need medical prosthesis for those who have lost their breast due to breast cancer.

The World Health Organisation released a report of breast cancer (people suffering from cancer) and breast cancer was one of those types of cancer that a lot of people suffered from. That means that a lot of women lose their breasts. That means that we have to create solutions for that.

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Nneile Nkholise


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