Above: Lunga Momoza.

For the past few months, Stellenbosch’s brightest and most innovative minds have been submitting their best ideas for new business models and process flows to improve the lives of locals in Stellenbosch and its surrounds.

This has all been towards the inaugural Ideas For Change Challenge organised by the Stellenbosch Network and sponsored by Stellenbosch University. The Challenge seeks to empower creative, innovative and scalable ideas to increase accessibility in the remote working world. 

Matjaka Ketsi.

Matjaka Ketsi.

Zani Mouton.

Zani Mouton.

After much deliberation, the judges have announced their top three finalists who will now be entered into a poll on social media and vie for the chance to win the R20,000 grand prize and be named this year’s winner.

 Stellenbosch Network Operations Manager and organiser of this years’ Challenge, Hanli Brink, says: “COVID-19 has forced us to relook the way in which we live and work. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Stellenbosch, where traditional models of doing business have needed to adapt to new and innovative ways of operating.” 

 “This has been a challenge, but by encouraging forward-looking thinking among local people to solve local problems, we can help to ensure that the town is able to sustainably progress far into the future.”

Finalist Matjaka Ketsi secured her spot with an idea to provide remote and underprivileged communities with solar-powered learning canteens. Each canteen is equipped with interactive learning material to encourage young people to engage with renewable energy. For added income generation, the canteens will sell solar lamps, chargers and heaters, and also offer device charging stations for locals.

Zani Mouton has proposed a solution to the traffic and parking problem within Stellenbosch. This entails the creation of a parking and ride-sharing app for Stellenbosch, which will help guide users to available parking spots around town. Accounts will be linked to the driver’s number plate and use the application to pay for parking via bank card or Snapscan. In doing so, the app aims to optimise the flow of traffic in Stellenbosch and digitise paid-for-parking.

Lunga Momoza is looking to develop Basket, a business-to-business eCommerce platform which will connect local farmers with nearby wholesalers and retailers. The app will help digitise local supply chains and aims to improve market access by providing a transparent, communicative and connected buying and selling management platform, specifically for fast-moving consumer goods.

“It’s fantastic to see that this years’ entrants were very practical, realistic and focussed on the most immediate needs of the town. Although their ideas were in various stages of development, most presented great potential and relevance to Stellenbosch. I highly recommend that all entrants go and speak to the Municipality because even if they don’t win, their idea may still be tested and implemented,” says Dr Leslie van Rooi,  the senior director for social impact & transformation at Stellenbosch University and judge at this years’ competition.

He continues: “It has been an honour to be a part of the Challenge, which has successfully shown the potential of innovation think-tanks to further the needs of Stellenbosch and enhance the possibilities of both its local citizenry and economy. It’s a fantastic way of tapping into the idea resource of locals.”

Johan Olivier, the Director at Ranyaka and another judge at this years’ Challenge, echoed these sentiments: “Because Stellenbosch is such a bustling town with so much going on, it can be difficult for budding entrepreneurs without the resources and connections to get noticed. This means that a lot of potentially good ideas and opportunities get missed. The Ideas for Change Challenge has helped us discover and unlock innovations that may never have come to the fore. It also shows the depth and richness of Stellenbosch’s people, who together with organisations such as Stellenbosch Network, Ranyaka and Stellenbosch University, will make Stellenbosch a stronger and more inclusive town.”

Everyone who entered this year’s competition has been afforded the opportunity to attend a masterclass in value proposition and design by Anton Pretorius from Sologix to help all contestants bring their ideas to life.

For more information, go to https://www.stellenboschnetwork.co.za/.

 – Stellenbosch Network