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Stellenbosch-based accelerator, LaunchLab announced its nine winners in for their Nedbank Stellenbosch University Ideas Programme bi-annual competition. The competition saw 17 finalists compete for a share of the final seed funding prize.
It is run of all 4 of the public university campuses in the Western Cape, and includes False Bay College, a technical vocational educational training institution.
The 17 young entrepreneurs pitched their startup and business ideas to a panel of judges in front of a live studio audience. They were able to submit ideas to challenges posed by industry partners in the Payments & Big Data, Paid Media, Agritech, and Education categories.
This edition of the Ideas Programme had the support of the Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Nedbank, Multichoice, and Woolworths.
“The pitching platform gives entrepreneurs the chance to step out of their comfort zone and to share their ideas in front of a critical panel of judges and a knowledgeable audience. Developing savvy solutions for real world problems is something Nedbank really believes in and is proud to support,” said Head of emerging Payments & Strategy at Nedbank, Chris Wood.
The LaunchLab was started in 2012 and is an initiative of Innovus, Stellenbosch University’s industry and innovation company. Since its inception, the competition has spread to include entrepreneurs from other universities and education institutions in the Western Cape.
“Initiatives like Pitching Platform need the support of key ecosystem partners like government, universities and industry. It is indeed a key platform that contributes to enabling a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Western Cape,” says Chief Executive Officer Anita Nel. She goes on to add, “It is essential to allow grassroots entrepreneurs to thrive and positively elevate society and the economy.”
The LaunchLab received a total of 108 video business pitch entries, and out of that 17 finalists were chosen. Philip Marais, CEO of LaunchLab, says the number of finalists was a record number and showed the caliber of entrepreneurial potential in the Western Cape. “I am excited by the opportunity the LaunchLab provides and to see entrants grow to new levels through our acceleration programmes that help young entrepreneurs understand their entrepreneurial profiles and validate their business models,” adds Marais.
Out of the 17 finalists, nine were chosen and each won a share of R100 000 seed funding to grow their business.
The category winners are:
Payments & Big Data:
- Rasffi – a USSD service which enables the users to cancel lost or stolen bank cards.
- Hand Up – notification app detailing when a taxi will be arriving and where it will be going.
- Eatime Airtime – a USSD service to pay for small items at retail level and send vouchers to contacts.
- CyFi – a subscription-based education platform for content, exercises, and tools.
- Brands for Literacy – an internetless way for printing packaging codes that can be scanned to display large amounts of content on smartphones.
- Student Hub – a platform for buying and selling used textbooks.
- Kwikdrink – clean water filtration systems embedded into bottles with chips. Digital content can also be displayed to the consumer.
- Cuppa Campus – subsidised coffee sales with advertising
- List – a listing system created to remember people in the context you met them.