The top five South African startups who will be competing to represent the country at the international Chivas Regal The Venture contest and stand the chance to win a R4.8million grand prize, have been announced.

Currently in its second year, The Venture is an annual entrepreneur contest and mentoring programme which scouts for outstanding social startups across the world’s continents to help develop their business and compete for funding.

Regional competitions are held in 16 countries and the top performing one from each nation is selected to represent its country at the global finals. The top five from the 16 finalists are awarded a cash prize between $75 000 for fifth place and $300 000 for first.

These are the top five South African finalists:

  1. I’m Not Plastic (INP): INP is a ‘plants to plastics’ concept resulting in a single waste stream for both food waste and bioplastic products. Rigid food packaging is not recycled in SA and is therefore a major contributor towards pollution. This combined with 10.2 tonnes of food waste per annum sent directly to landfill is not only a logistical nightmare that adds to the carbon footprint, but also creates methane at landfill, a gas contributing more to climate change than CO2.
  2. Mama Mimi’s: Mama Mimi’s uses wood fired bakeries to create baked goods e.g. bread, muffins etc. whilst maintaining a sustainable and very scalable community business. There is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to become Mama Mimi’s Bakers in their respective neighbourhoods, and there is also a need for agents to service those bakeries in terms of the supply of Mama Mimi’s bread mix on a regular basis. In addition, corporate companies can support the development of neighbourhood bakeries through various means.
  3. Safe and Sound: The business purpose is to connect deaf people with normal hearing people and lifesaving sounds prevalent in our surroundings. Safe and Sound produces a wrist wearable device that picks up human and emergency sounds. These sounds are then communicated to the user through vibration, LED and lighting. It also has the capability of alerting the user when the set perimeter in our surroundings has been breached; this then opens up the device to be used for child, car and pet monitoring
  4. Connectmed: Connectmed is a video based telemedicine platform that allows patients to connect over video. The platform is optimised to work well in low bandwidth areas.
  5. CrashDetech: CrashDetech is a smartphone application that runs silently in the background of your phone. It automatically detects serious vehicle crashes and reduces emergency response times by pinpointing the crash location. It also ensures appropriate medical attention by providing vital patient information.

The local winner last year was Lumkani, whose CEO David Gluckman went on to represent South Africa and placed fourth in the global leg.

“Year two of The Venture has shown us that South Africa is home to innovative people who are ready to change the communities they live in and beyond. The number of entries received doubled from year one, making the selection process challenging,” said Sibusiso Shangase, head of marketing, Chivas Regal.