The awards are a global initiative run within the framework of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The event aims to select digital innovation that is making a positive impact on society.
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There are eight categories and tastePal — which allows employees to, via an app, order and make a direct payment to their corporate staff canteen to eliminate lunch queues — was nominated along with about 60 other businesses worldwide, in the business and commerce category. In all, tastePal joins over 400 international projects that the awards’ jury will this year consider for the prize.
TastePal was founded in February last year by Jordan Stephanou (pictured above). Wilhem Erasmus joined in April as a business partner and is the company’s head software engineer.
Stephanou told Ventureburn today that next month the number of nominees in each category will be whittled down to 10, before they are halved to five per category in December. The awards ceremony takes place in February, at a yet-to-be announced location.
Tastepal has been nominated as best national digital solution for South Africa for the international World Summit Awards
He said tastePal currently has two catering company clients that between them service eight corporates located in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Catering companies pay a monthly retainer fee as well as a setup fee to tastePal to enjoy the service. Stephanou says 30% of the fees caterers pay goes to Food Forward SA, an NGO which helps distribute surplus food to the needy.
By partnering with Food Forward SA, Stephanou plans to help fund at least 150 000 meals by the end of next year (see the details here).
“I wanted to make it a proper social cause startup,” he said, adding that the charity element also makes it easier to get clients on board.
Stephanou hit on the idea for the service while working at Investec where he said the investment bank’s 2000 staff in the Johannesburg office regularly had to wait in queues for half an hour for their lunch.
While tastePal has just a team of four at present, things are set to expand after the startup last month signed an agreement with SA company Intelipos, which supplies local corporate canteens with point-of-sale systems. The agreement will allow the startup to distribute its app to catering companies that represent about 600 local corporates.
Stephanou said the startup is currently testing the system and plans to release an integrated version for Intelipos on 31 October.
Featured image: Tastepal founder Jordan Stephanou (Supplied)