Keaton Harris, a Stellenbosch University medical student at the Tygerberg campus is the 2020 winner of SU LaunchLab IdeaSmash competition in the existing business: technology category. His business, InforMed, is an offline mobile healthcare translation tool that focuses on breaking language barriers between healthcare professionals and patients. It uses an adaptive approach that is geared towards obtaining translations from healthcare professionals that not only have a medical degree, but can also show fluency in both English and another language.
In July 2020, the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) held its first 2020 segment of the annual intervarsity competition. The competition is aimed at stirring and developing student entrepreneurship in South Africa's public universities. Each university holds an initial internal round from which representatives are chosen to compete in the regional/provincial rounds and finally in the national rounds. Although disrupted by COVID-19 earlier in the year, all the Universities displayed massive resilience and adaptability by pushing through with their respective internal rounds albeit modifications.
The Stellenbosch University LaunchLab, in partnership with the Office of the Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, hosts Stellenbosch University's internal round dubbed IdeaSmash.
Through the SU IdeaSmash eight finalists from a total of 46 applications were selected to represent Stellenbosch University at the regional finals. The eight competed in four categories which included:
- New business idea category
- Existing business (Tech) category
- Existing business (Social Impact) category
- Existing business (General) category
All eight finalists gave stellar pitches at the Western Cape regional competition's virtual events which were spread across the 1st week of July 2020. Judges included representatives from the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation (AGOf), First National Bank (FNB) and South African Breweries Foundation (SABf).
The other seven finalists are:
- Grandeur Giftery by Vutomi Khosa (Existing Business - Social Impact): A gift delivery service that delivers within 24 hours of payment that operates within the Western Cape.
- Top Tank by Andrex Roux (New business idea): A self-watering plant growing convertible garden tray (TopTank) which can be added to any fish tank.
- Biotikum by Deon Neveling (Existing Business - Tech): A company focuses on developing and commercialising animal probiotics, thereby promoting sustainable farming practices.
- Vexed by Peter Brincker (Existing Business - Social Impact): A platform for simplified extra classes in video format. It is keeping to the structure of a syllabus but taking out the complexity.
- Bloxy by Josephine Rey (Existing Business - Tech): A piece of software that enables free, offline banking- without any need for cellphone signal.
- Split by Jacques du Plessis (New business idea): An app that provides an easy, safe, and fun way to borrow, lend, and rent things.
- Innovative Vending Solutions by Janneman van der Merwe (Existing Business - General): A vending machine company which conveniently serves by offering vending solutions and innovative technologies to clients.
Keaton and the other finalists will be receiving a share of R60 000 seed funding to support their business. Keaton has also been receiving incubation services from the SU LaunchLab where he is currently going through the Countdown: Business Validation programme.
The SU LaunchLab continues to be a flagship for the development and support of studentpreneurship on the Stellenbosch University campus. All students are encouraged to keep in the loop with the SU LaunchLab on the SU Entrepreneurship Hub webpage: https://launchlab.co.za/su-entrepreneurship-hub/