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As September is Heritage Month in South Africa, we have decided to highlight three tech startups that have found ways to make a difference in their local community.
Celebrating Heritage month, here are three tech startups dedicated to making a difference in township communities
We have decided to focus on these three tech startups as they assist businesses, increase school safety, and support female street vendors with innovative solutions to assist them in increasing their revenue.
Heritage month is also the perfect day to celebrate the innovative ways that tech startups have found a way to help their fellow South Africans.
Launched in May this year by Nicky Swart, Spoon Money is a fintech company that aims to support female micro-traders to build and thrive within township communities.
The tech startup focuses on women from low-income areas who have started their businesses as street vendors. According to the startup, the street vendors make use of stokvels to save money. With stokvels, the members regularly contribute a certain amount of money in order to save money and provide capital for their businesses.
However, in some cases, the stokvels are unable to provide adequate funding for any unexpected emergencies or for achieving any long term goals. Spoon Money is able to provide unique financial solutions to its clients through an online platform from a minimum monthly payment of R100 per member in a group.
3DIMO is a local black economic empowerment tech startup that got its start by creating sports hardware and software devices that monitored performance and provide early detection of injury risk in athletes.
The CEO of 3DIMO, Nneile Nkholise, explained that as the company grew they soon discovered that there was an opportunity to do some good and provide a possible solution to one of the biggest challenges that small and medium farmers face.
Nkholise explained that with a professor from the University of Cape Town (UCT), Prof Amit Kumar Mishra, 3DIMO was able to develop the Thola infrared imaging tool which can be used to detect diseases in livestock before spreading and causing major financial losses.
“Nneile from 3DIMO is a very active and connected person. She helped to put up a nice flow for a quick prototype. She also could organise some seed funds to get the activities going,” explained Mishra.
Mishra explained that the infrared camera, which can be loaded easily on a smartphone or a drone and scan the temperature distribution of the animal that is being scanned.
“For example, an area with an infection will be hotter than other areas. The temperature of different body parts and the pattern of distribution of temperature can tell a lot about the health of the animal. This can be used to detect a number of common diseases in animals,” said Mishra.
Nkholise stated that in the pilot testing phase and they have worked with more than 300 and 17000 cattle.
“The value of our solution has been providing farmers with a biometric identity of their animals which has a benefit that goes beyond identifying an animal that is not well but also helps with linking an animal to its owner,” explained Nkholise.
Mishra added that the future goals for 3DIMO include providing an online platform for small to medium-scale farmers to sell their goods.
Jonga is a tech startup that provides affordable security systems for low-income communities.
The security system includes an alarm with wireless motion sensors that are connected to an app that is available on the Google Play store.
Based in Dunoon the security system was launched in January this year after it was founded by Ntsako Mgiba and Ntanda Shezi in 2016.
Mgiba explained that it was a long process that had begun with considering the challenges that residents face in townships and rural communities.
According to Mgiba one of the biggest challenges is the high population and the lack of resources in these areas. Since the Covid-19 pandemic South African schools have been closed for long periods of time.
Schools in low-income areas, in particular, have become vulnerable. To protect the schools from vandalism and break-ins, Jonga has installed its security system to two schools in Khayelitsha. The startup hopes to include more than 60 schools in Khayelitsha and the rest of South Africa.
Featured image: Omotayo Tajudeen via Pexels