Start-up businesses receive recognition

Award winners and participants at the Heavy Chef start-up awards, which took place at the District Six Homecoming Centre.

South Africa’s Top 5 most innovative start-up businesses were crowned at an event held at the District 6 Homecoming Theatre on Thursday November 30.

The event was hosted by the Heavy Chef Foundation, a learning community for entrepreneurs, in collaboration with Heavy Chef, Xero, xneelo and Workshop17.

The winners were:

  • Botlhale AI – Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to creatively solve challenges through overcoming language barriers.
  • Everlectric – A seamless transition to electric fleets, prioritising simplicity and sustainability for clients.
  • Jem – Payslips and instant employee information, including early pay access using messaging platforms like WhatsApp.
  • MySocialLife – Education, mental health, online safety, media literacy, and privacy for teens and pre-teens.
  • Strove – In-app meditations and well-being surveys, encompassing stress, sleep, work, among other mental indicators.

“The five winning start-ups selected from over 120 nominated by their communities exemplified passion, a sensitivity to sustainability, social need as well as wholehearted embrace of current technologies including AI,” said Zinhle Novazi, podcaster, competition judge and Heavy Chef Foundation board member.

“The winning criteria were not so much about “the best performing” or “biggest fundraise” but rather as judges we looked for “the most exciting” start-up. We asked ourselves, “Does this start-up stir my soul?” she said.

A celebrity panel of entrepreneur judges poured over the nominations to create a shortlist of 12 for final consideration.

Among the key attributes of the 2023 list of finalists is the role played by artificial intelligence (AI) in their offering. “AI is clearly becoming increasingly relevant in the role start-ups play in society. This is very exciting and illustrates that the technology being incorporated in South African businesses is world class,” said Heavy Chef CEO, Fred Roed.

Sam Ralarala and Zuri Skunana, both from Strand, visited the business exhibitions.
Pamela Sasa, Sesethu Mdlungu and Khanyaswa Nyatela from Khayelitsha
Exhibitors Saskia Brink from Woodstock, Julia Ratcliffe from Hout Bay and Jason Groenewald- Bure from Gardens
Ladies from the Saartjie Baartman Centre in Manenberg also attended the event. From left are Farieda Frank from Manenberg, Chichi Sanda from Wynberg, relief staff worker at Saartjie Baartman Centre in Manenberg Abeeda Petersen and social services manager Miriam Fredericks. At back is Nomvuyo Sanda from Wynberg.
One of the winners at the exhibition. Left is CEO of Bothale Solutions AI Thapelo Nthite and Sange Maxaku, both from Gardens.
Owners of in Claremont also attended the exhibition. From left are Graham Stephen from Tokai, Chrishenda Brukman from Kenilworth and Steven Kay from Durbanville