Nominations for SA’s Five Most Exciting Startups award competition are open

Since 2017 entrepreneur education platform Heavy Chef has been hosting a credible annual “Top 5 Most Exciting Startups” list that has previously included some of the most successful startups in the South African business landscape. This year, in partnership with Xero and PayFast, they’d especially like to include those that took risks and are rewriting the rules on how new companies work during the pandemic.

SA’s Top Five Most Exciting Startups will be announced at the event on Thursday 2 December 2021

“We have a lot to celebrate. Despite all the looting, pillaging and plague-ing going on in 2021, we’ve all been working hard,” says Fred Roed, Heavy Chef CEO. “We entrepreneurial folk tend to sweat behind our laptops until the very last working day, then look up to see that the year has gone. These awards are intended to remind us of the phenomenal projects that have been started on local shores.”

Past winners have ended up being the epitome of the success story. 2017 winner Yoco raised just over R1.2 billion in Series C funding to scale their digital offerings and expand to new markets. Winners from the other years, like SweepSouth, LifeCheque, DataProphet, YeboFresh, Bathu and Jumo are making just as big a splash in their respective sectors, proof that our entrepreneur community can recognise a really helpful solution when they see it.

Register your nomination

This is your chance as a community to submit your entries before the end of November and the shortlisted nominees are announced prior to the annual event. The criteria being that the entrants must be operational for less than seven years, have their own IP and be scalable.

“Having been on the judging panel for the last two iterations of SA’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups I’m always excited about what the event represents and means to the local startup ecosystem,” adds Heavy Chef Foundation Chairman Lukhanyo Neer. “Given the seemingly unending health and economic crisis that’s engulfed the world, as the HC Foundation we’ve been particularly impressed by how entrepreneurs and startups have toiled in the face of unprecedented challenges. This event is a fitting way of recognising and rewarding the efforts of SA’s best startups.”

The winners will be announced at both a public and livestream event on Thursday, 2 December. It will be hosted by the newly crowned World Champion of Public Speaking 2021, Verity Price and entertainment will be provided by Aron Halevi, (co-founder of Freshlyground), and Divine Mahara, (who wrote the ‘Heavy Chef’ song).

Register your worthy nomination simply by clicking on this link:

Event details: Thursday 2 December 2021. Workshop 17 Watershed, 17 Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town at 18h00.  R250 per ticket (free for Heavy Chef members).

For tickets visit:



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