The 2023 Innovate Durban Pitching Den took place on March 28th at the Innovation CoLab in Durban and brought together some of the most innovative startups from the KwaZulu-Natal region. As one of the premier events for innovators and entrepreneurs, it was an opportunity for funders and venture capitalists to discover new talent and invest in the future of South African innovation.
Over 80 applicants were narrowed down to just 15 participants, who underwent rigorous pitch training and coaching sessions ahead of the event.
The winners were announced at the end of an intense morning of pitching, with Senele Goba of 4IR Innovations emerging as the first-place winner. Goba’s innovation targets learners in grades 4 to 12 and encourages their involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields and activities. She presented a versatile problem-solving electrical kit that enables learners to solve complex problems.
Second place, with a prize of R35 000, went to Farai Dziike and Nelisa Mabaso from Bio Mhlaba Brick Company. Their innovation addresses the growing problem of waste recycling, by creating bricks from different types of waste materials, particularly plastics, in a sustainable and useful way.
In third place, Francis Djumo from Royaume: Smart Inflow Meter secured a prize of R25 000 with their innovation involving a smart meter. The system can save households up to R600 worth of water by monitoring and controlling the water supply, with a feature that can detect leaks.
These cash prizes are awarded as part of the Pitching Den initiative, which is one of various programmes aimed at supporting and showcasing innovation in the KwaZulu-Natal region.
Innovate Durban is an organisation dedicated to highlighting and supporting innovators and innovative startups in the KwaZulu-Natal region. The Pitching Den is just one of many initiatives aimed at creating a platform and networking opportunities for innovators, while linking them with venture capitalists and angel investors.
The Pitching Den initiative provides a unique opportunity for venture capitalists and other funders to discover innovative start-ups in the KwaZulu-Natal region. Through extensive pitch training and coaching sessions, innovators are equipped with the critical skills needed to effectively pitch their business ideas to potential investors.
“Our ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between promising start-ups and investors, while also showcasing the exceptional talent and innovation present in the region,” said Sithabile Cele, marketing and events manager for Innovate Durban.
The panel of judges for the Innovate Durban Pitching Den included Ramsay Daly, Co-CEO of Ikhokha, Justice Matarutse, programme manager of Innovation at eThekwini Municipality, Christopher du Plessis, digital lead Southern Africa at Royal HaskoningDHV, Udi Pillay, partner at Adams & Adams Attorneys, and Aurelia Albert, chief executive officer at Innovate Durban.
The Innovate Durban Pitching Den is just one of the various programmes hosted by Innovate Durban aimed at supporting and showcasing innovation in the region.
With more events and programmes like this, the KwaZulu-Natal region is sure to produce more innovative ideas and businesses that will transform the local economy.
For more information contact: Sithabile Cele, Marketing & Events Manager – Innovate Durban
T: +27 (0)87 365 3131