The team Van Niekerk was part of consisted of Frieda Scheepers, an economist from North-West University, Luan van der Walt, an agricultural economist from the University of the Free State, and Lawrence Njabulo Nkosi, a student in economics and marketing from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. “[Because of the] financial and policy issues experienced by most businesses in South Africa, the team decided to rather focus on the science behind innovation, the real world application, and a strong consideration was given to the human aspect of business development and scientific endeavours,” Van Niekerk explained. She further added that the booming consumer market needs product development based on the pliability of science.
Van Niekerk said that her career in research and science provided her with the skills necessary to be part of the team that won at the competition. She attributes these skills to the mentors and scientific leaders at the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being at UP. The competition, which is held annually, aims to be a catalyst for innovative thinking by exploring diverse solutions to problems within a limited amount of time.