As winter sets in we are sure to hear more news of devastating shack fires caused by oil burner across the country. Which is why local firm Lumkani has been rightly awarded several times over the last year.

Lumkani fire detectors are designed to detect and locate shack fires fast. If a fire is detected all, all devices within a 60 metre radius will trigger alarms within twenty seconds giving community members enough time to contain a blaze. A base station thent sends text messages to community members and stores GPS coordinates for use by the fire department.

Lumkani is one of sixteen finalists with a chance to win a share of $1 million in The Venture – a global contest of promising startups or startup ideas that can change people’s lives while remaining financially stable. And it’s the only startup from Africa that has made it through to the final stage.

$50 000 is split among the 16 contenders every week for five weeks depending on the number of votes they receive and this is the final week of the competition. A vote for this South African technology-based early fire warning system through the competition’s website will lead to an increase in the distribution of networked fire detectors in shanty towns here and around the world.

 

 

“…we would love you to vote for our business on The Venture page…the more votes we get, the greater the share of $250 000 we can raise toward our Indiegogo campaign…” reads a plea for votes on Lumkani’s Indiegogo page.

In a promotional video for The Venture, Lumkani co-founder David Gluckman says the ambition is to have the fire detector in as many of what he says are two million shack households across South Africa.

Also on the list of finalists for this year’s prize is a US social enterprise startup that is digitising the street vending industry through mobile technology as well as a plan to build and operate a solar farm aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and the national energy deficit from the Dominican Republic. A full list is available on the competition website.