Business in Ghana

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Ghanaian Technology Enterprise Boosts Africa in Prestigious Global Contest

Posted by Business in Ghana on November 14, 2010

After pitching their security innovations to a panel of judges before a live audience of investors, industry, government, VCs and peers, mPedigree and iWebGate have been awarded prize packages totalling $500,000. This followed a rigorous selection process lasting months, in which hundreds of hopeful innovative companies were narrowed down to 7 contestants in a climactic showdown at the University of London.

The Global Security Challenge (GSC) Summit, a Dragons’ Den style event for security companies, marks the culmination of an annual competition to find the Best Security Start-Up and Best Security SME. The competition attracts entrants from around the world, and innovators must excel at regional finals to be invited to the final summit in London. Last year’s winner Kromek has recently had its liquid scanner machines approved for use at EU airports, and previous finalists, including tenCube and Vumii have been acquired in multi-million dollar deals.

Best Security Start-Up

mPedigree Network, www.mPedigree.Net from Ghana is the first system developed in the world which enables consumers and patients to verify the authenticity of their medicines by sending a free text message of the unique, product-embossed codes.

Across the developing world, especially in West Africa, the issue of fake and counterfeit medication has become a huge problem – the WHO estimates that in many emerging markets, up to 30% of drugs are compromised. The growing sophistication of cheap graphic software and hardware kit means that packaging, including traditional security features such as holograms, can be perfectly replicated by even smalltime counterfeit operators making the need for a highly robust but economically feasible system urgent.

While being just as robust as emerging methods such as EMID and RFID, and far more secure than holograms, the mPedigree approach is widely accessible through basic text messaging, requires no specialist equipment or training, is free to access for consumers, and a fraction of the price of holograms, and RFID and EMID techniques. Its success has led to adoption in lucrative markets such as Nigeria, where several multinational pharmaceutical companies now considering mobile phone based pharmaceutical authentication. The Ghanaian company, which now works closely with global technology giant Hewlett Packard, aims to extend the service across Africa in coming years.

mPedigree has been awarded a $200,000 investment from the TSWG of the US Department of Defense and mentorship from Advent Venture Partners.

Bright Simons, Founder of mPedigree Network said “This is a clear sign that African technology has come of age and also that innovators in Africa addressing complex, difficult and unique challenges can, notwithstanding limited resources, deliver world class results. I would like to thank our partners, without whom both our work and this honour would have been impossible. In particular, we would like to thank Nigeria’s NAFDAC, HP, May & Baker, Ashoka and many others we cannot name now. Through their support, we are indeed saving lives, across Africa and soon beyond.”


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