On 10 October 2014, a flurry of start-up entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business leaders flocked to the Cape Town International Convention Centre to attend the SiMODiSA Start-Up South Africa Conference.The conference focused on addressing some of the pivotal issues around entrepreneurship including funding, the role of government and the global ecosystem, but it was the Get Up, Start-Up pitch competition that sparked our interest. Get Up, Start-Up is a SiMODiSA initiative that offered 10 local start-ups the opportunity to showcase their business ideas in the form of an onstage pitch in front of the audience and a panel of judges. With 12 minutes to prove that theirs was the most game-changing idea, these entrepreneurs found themselves in the hotseat in a Dragon’s-Den-like setting – the pressure was on.
The World Wide Creative team was there to find out where digital could be found in all of this. What role is digital and technological innovation playing in the South African start-up ecosystem?If the Get Up, Start-Up initiative is anything to go by, then digital is one of entrepreneurship’s major driving points, and we were proud to see it.
Digital Making A Difference
Here’s how the 10 finalists who pitched at Start-Up SA are using digital technology to fuel their business ideas:
Peach Payments: A payment solution for e-commerce and m-commerce businesses.
Iono.fm: Online publishers of audio content that can be listened to on mobile devices.
GenWye: Founders of the GenBox, a parcel collection/drop-off point that’s logistically controlled online.
WumDrop: An on-demand courier start-up that’s like an Uber for parcel collections and deliveries.
FlavaLite: A pioneering company on the IT landscape offering IT and web analytics services.
Rethink Education: An e-learning solution that provides byte-sized content to learners.
Apurimac Media: A consultative digital advertising firm that has partnered with Yahoo as an online gateway to the African market.
The Lightie: An innovative and sustainable solution that uses solar technology to provide affordable lighting.
SweepSouth: An on-demand service that’s like the Uber for domestic cleaners.
MzansiStore: An e-commerce marketplace for local crafters.
SweepSouth – The Get Up, Start-Up Winner
In the end, it was SweepSouth that walked away with the prize: an all-expenses paid 2 month mentor program with office space and funding in Silicon Valley. This digitally driven business brings the micro-jobbing trend to the cleaning service industry. People can book and pay for movie tickets and book flights – now thanks to SweepSouth, the South African public can book house cleaning services too. Clients can book a referenced and insured cleaner by filling out a contact form that includes their personal preferences and the date and time that they will need the cleaning service. Payment is made via any mobile device or PC and the cleaner will report for duty as per the client’s request. Simple, but so effective. Well done SweepSouth!
Join The Digital Start-Up Movement
The South African environment is filled with opportunities for learning, sharing and developing the local digital ecosystem. Everyday life is inextricably linked to technology and the internet. Chances are, you’ve probably checked your phone a few times or reminded yourself to reply to an email and sneaked a peek at your Facebook page, while reading this article. We look forward to the emergence of more and more digital innovations on the South African start-up landscape.
Who is World Wide Creative?
Founded in 2003, World Wide Creative is a digital marketing agency based in South Africa and Europe. We are driven by learning and sharing everything and anything related to digital marketing. We have forged strong partnerships with some of the most recognised brands on the globe. Delivering Strategy, Development, Campaigns and Training, we are one of the fastest growing agencies in Africa. Our philosophy? Never trust a skinny chef.
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* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the owner of Ideate.