When was the last time you heard a truly unique and fresh business idea? Read these South African entrepreneurs’ ideas to inspire your next groundbreaking venture.
From a “delicious” idea that flips traditional camping on its head, to an insurance startup targeting a commonly under served market, these ideas caught our eye this year.
Biodegradable party cups
Luvuyo Ndiki, a South African entrepreneur and founder of lifestyle brand, Red Cup Village, is planning to launch South Africa’s first biodegradable cup which will be made from corn starch and sugar cane. The cup, which is part of a new range of products, was set to launch in May this year.
Ndiki’s biodegrable cup invention was inspired by festival goers who queried how they could recycle their red plastic cups. “I realised that I wanted to do something that was for the future,” he told online news platform, IOL.
“It’s just more a conscious decision to create biodegradable products, especially looking at the issue of plastic in our environment.”
The corn starch and sugar cane are sourced from local farms which are then made into bioplastic which is PLA (Polylactic acid). From there, it is made into a biodegradable cup and other biodegradable products.
Red Cup Village’s entire cup range is 100% recyclable and produced within the ISO 14000 world environmental management standards.
Insurance for RDP houses
“When beneficiaries of low-cost homes suddenly come across loss or damage to their properties, they face a heavy financial burden,” says Bangi Makopo, co-founder and director at Social Housing Initiative Cover (S.H.I.C), a pioneering low-cost housing insurance company.
“Most RDP families don’t have access to spare money, so if something goes wrong with their new house, they can’t afford to fix it. And if you don’t maintain a property more things tend to go wrong, and you end up in a negative cycle you can’t escape from.”
S.H.I.C offers affordable low-cost housing protection against this devastating scenario. For R100 per month, RDP homeowners can now make sure that if they experience theft, fire or material building damage, they will be able to pay the cost of repairs.
At R100 per month the S.H.I.C insurance product offering is affordable for most low-cost homeowners, and it gives protection against core property damage, excluding household contents and renovations made to the house after it was handed to the owner. Policy holders also have the option to take up additional, affordable cover for household contents, as well as a funeral plan.
“We’ve worked very hard to develop this product for South African communities,” says Makopo. “It services families that meet government’s criteria for social housing, as well anyone else with a home valued under R150 000.
“The cost of the premium is as low as we could possibly make it. This has been a big point of focus for us, along with making sure the process of getting cover is simple, and fast.”
Rent household electronics
Rentoza was started by four South Africans who were convinced the stuff hiding in the bottom of their cupboards and in their garages – from appliances to baby equipment – should be paying rent for taking up so much space.
On their website they write: “We thought it would be great to help you turn these things into money without selling them. Even better, we realised you don’t need to buy the items you only need occasionally because you can rent them from someone who already has them. Win-win.”
They rent out household appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers, fridges, dishwashers and TVs, as well as baby equipment.
The company was recently selected for the Startupbootcamp AfriTech accelerator programme.
On their website they write: “Rentoza leverages the sharing economy in an efficient, safe and cost-effective manner.
“We allow individuals and businesses to list their lazy assets on the Rentoza marketplace.
“Customers are then able to seamlessly access these items via a low-cost rental model, which is augmented with a robust screening process and is supported by product insurance.”
The Jamii Cities platform connects the needs of the best tenants with the best landlords. The business attracts, selects, onboards and rewards tenants for good financial behaviour related to rental payments, which incentivises a longer stay in Jamii Cities partner portfolio properties and drives their vision to help build smart and connected cities.
Tenants are able to earn rewards for paying their rent on time and keeping their apartment in immaculate condition.
Their rental apartments are located in the Joburg CBD. The startup was founded by Adrian Taylor, Marc Maasdorp and Bartek Dutkowski.
Camping with a private chef
Tshireletso Mokate is the 31-year-old founder of Camping RetrEats. The company hosts camping retreats across South Africa, including a private chef.
Their website states: “We provide GREAT food for you and your fellow campers for the duration of your camping retreat.
“Your food will be cooked and prepared by a selected private chef who will be camping with us for guaranteed delicious meals.
“All this will be included in your once-off price.”
The Mail & Guardian describes the business model as “delectable camping and feasting experience that blends the best of all the worlds.”
“Camping RetrEats moves across some of South Africa’s best campsites in search of the perfect relaxation getaway spots. The private chef creates delicious food, the organisers provide adventure activities and camping essentials while nature provides the rest.”
Camping RetrEats ventures hosts retreats in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and Limpopo.