Hot SA tech startups from towns and rural communities head to the UK
We recently introduced you to 18 entrepreneurs hand-picked by BT Global Services and MEDO from towns, townships and rural communities across South Africa.
The group competed to secure their place on a trade visit to the United Kingdom in April later this year. The selected entrepreneurs will spend a week in the UK participating in training programmes, networking events and business and investor pitches.
After a final pitching session to top level executives, we now know who made the cut. According to Judi Sandrock, CEO of MEDO says that although all the teams were well prepared and delivered business pitches of a world class standard, the judges were not convinced that three of the businesses were ready to trade internationally and indicated that the entrepreneurs should build their businesses over some time and try again at a later stage.
Keith Matthews, GM of BT Sub-Saharan Africa was impressed with both the quality of the pitches and innovative nature of many of the businesses. “As a company committed to making a positive contribution to our community, BT is proud to be sponsoring the UK trade visit and I feel sure that the selected entrepreneurs will do South Africa proud,” said Matthews.
Let’s take a look at the selected entrepreneurs and their startups. For a slightly more in-depth look at their businesses, read our initial writeup.
- Veronica Shangali Aswani is the founder of Wavunow.com, a socially conscious e-commerce website aimed at bringing African crafters from rural communities to global markets.
- Jeffery Mulaudzi started Muluadzi Alexandra Tours in 2010 after identifying an opportunity that would not only help him break the cycle of poverty, but uplift his community in Alexandra township in Johannesburg.
- Sowertech founders Obakeng Mathlhoko and Nathi Shabalala run an innovative business that focuses on mobile app development. The team is currently working on Afta Robot, a type of Uber for South Africa’s Taxi service.
- Sibongile Mbele combined his passion for IT and uplifting others into a business called Mbele Social Concepts (Pty) Ltd. His flagship programme, Computers4Kids, provides IT education and training for disadvantaged children in the Langa, Nyanga, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha communities in Cape Town.
- Thulani Ngwenya founded Bytecode Consulting in 2006. The company delivers mobile app and productivity solutions which includes applications for SAP — one of the world’s largest ERP systems. Bytecode Consulting holds one of only two SAP mobile partnerships in Africa.
- Sechaba Ngwenya is the brain behind Creditable Co (of Dile Technologies) – an online service that allows anyone with money to become a lender — called peer-to-peer lending.
- Dean Thompson turned his childhood fascination into a business when he started Inferno Films, specialising in corporate and marketing videos, broadcast television, music videos and animation.
- Business Partners Raphael Mohlala and Lucas Ledwaba are the founders of Phakamo Holdings, a service provider in the IT Enterprise Architecture Management & Governance, Telecommunications, Multimedia and Technology supply domains.
- Phumlani Gouws owns MERIDICT Systems. Within the telecommunication industry, the company provides broadband fibre and wireless terrestrial last-mile technologies. Meridict is one of only 22 businesses in South Africa that holds both an IECNS and IECS license.
- Yongama Skweyiya started InnoVartis Technology Systems. Based in Cape Town, he describes his company as a mobile technology integrator, offering clients SMART technology solutions that will improve their efficiency and productivity.
- Moses Mashudu is the brain behind Munasi Consulting, an IT Company built with the aim of contributing to business sector development.
- Jay Pancham started Harpan Technologies. Harpan is an IT company specialising in customised software development. The company boasts several software products including a Container Management System, Issue Management, and Environmental Management Information System.