The final 10 contestants in Cell C’s thrilling reality show Hangman – hosted by Maps Maponyane and broadcast on e.tv on Sundays at 11h50 – have been revealed.
The innovators and their inventions, are:
Bonex Mwakikunga (aged 50 from Pretoria): Breath-Tech Sensor, a diabetes breathalyser.
Chelsea Anne Hornby (aged 24 from Roodepoort): Elle reusable menstrual cup and female hygiene management.
Christo Rossouw (aged 35 from Klerksdorp): Mosquito repellent lamp.
Claire Reid (aged 31 from Parkview, Johannesburg): Reel Gardening, a pre-fertilised, pre- spaced colour-coded seed tape.
Dean Fegen (aged 41 from Alberton): The Polyhammer which replaces the need for copper and rubber hammers in underground mining.
Lebohang Motsoeneng (aged 28 from Naturena in Johannesburg): The I-waiter is an electronic button device that attracts the attention of a restaurant waiter via a fashionable vibrating watch.
Rupert Taljaard (aged 45 from Yzerfontein, Western Cape): Halt Lock is a revolutionary anti-theft/anti hijacking device that prevents the driveshaft of the stolen vehicle from turning the wheels thus preventing its theft.
Sean T Armstrong (aged 35 from Bedfordview): Uni Click is a safety syringe that improves the safety, accuracy and precision of medical dosing.
Sello Paul Malinga (aged 21 from Khuma in North West): Spinetector Suit – A protective costume or exoskeleton for use in mining and construction.
Zithande Mbala (aged 32 from Atholl in Sandton): iWipe is a revolutionary new smart toilet paper that turns into a wet wipe when made wet by using regular tap water.
Says Mbala, who wants to revolutionise the way people see toilet paper: “I think Hangman is the best thing that has ever happened to the world of innovation. I see it as a perfect highway to turn great innovations into success stories. There has never been anything quite like it; I’m sure it’s going to go viral and we’ll have many seasons ahead. I’m grateful to be a part of Season 1.”
For Rossouw, the inventor of a unique mosquito repellent lamp, it is a dream come true: “I would like to thank Cell C for this initiative. I know it might just be about good TV, but I don’t think they realise just how rare an opportunity this is for an innovator, especially guys like most of us who are working a day job and innovating at night.”
The Top 10 have won the approval of the ‘Backers’ (judges), captains of industry and investment, who are celebrity economist Iraj Abedian; self-made billionaire Quinton van der Burgh; Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa and businesswoman and entrepreneur Connie Mashaba.
Judge and billionaire businessman Quinton van der Burgh is impressed with the talent that they have seen on the show: “It was not an easy job whittling down impressive candidates with fantastic inventions to this final 10. However, any of these finalists could take the top prize – let the challenges begin!”
However, Hangman is much more than a TV show with a weekly broadcast. Viewers can enjoy 24/7 entertainment via a Cell C Reality app where they can truly immerse themselves in the show. They can play “The Exchange” and win great prizes; get to know the Backers and watch sneak peek behind-the-scenes footage. Viewers can also get involved in the show itself – if their service matches a contestants’ need, they stand a chance to be in front of cameras.
All customers that download the Cell C Reality App automatically receive 100 000 points which they can use to participate in the ‘The Exchange’. Points are allocated to play the game. Customers win a variety of prizes by playing the game, including a car, scooter, smartphones, data, cash and vouchers.
The innovator who succeeds in garnering the support of the Backers, while rallying viewer/‘investor’ sentiment, could walk away with a R1 million cash prize and everything needed to succeed in a 21st century market.
Contestants and viewers do not need to be a Cell C customer to play or download the App but Cell C customers will receive bonuses for participation and watching the show.
Hangman airs on e.tv (on DStv it can be found on channel 194) on Sundays at 11h50 with a repeat on Saturdays at 13h00. It also broadcasts on eExtra (http://eextra.etv.co.za) on Wednesdays at 19h30 with a repeat on Thursdays at 10h00.
Q&As WITH THE HANGMAN TOP 10
Suburb and province where you live: Muckleneuk, Pretoria, Gauteng
Company name: Breath-Tech Sensors
Invention: It is a diabetes breathalyser that works through a cell phone. The analyser detects acetone which is a bio marker for diabetes. The apparatus attaches to a smartphone and “transforms” the phone into an easy to use mobile unit. Patients can use it to monitor their diabetes.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? I am the seventh born from of Glyn and Donafeg Mwakikunga from the Karonga district in Malawi. I got my early education at Nchowo Primary and Chilumba Secondary schools between 1975 and 1984 before obtaining a Bachelor’s degree and Honours degree from Chancellor’s College of the University of Malawi in 1992 and 1993 respectively. I also obtained my MSc and PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 2006 and 2010 respectively. I pursued my post-doctoral research at the National Laser Centre of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research from 2010 to 2012 before I joined the CSIR/DST National Centre for Nano-Structured Materials in early 2013 where I became a senior researcher on gas sensors.
Where did you get the idea for your invention? My daughter was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1 when she was three in 2009. While living with this problem, I watched as my daughter underwent the pain of not only injections of insulin but also the pricking of fingers for a drop of blood twice or three times a day in order to monitor and manage this lifetime condition. I started steering my gas sensor experience into detection of biomarkers in the breath which could be linked to blood sugar.
What do you hope to achieve with your invention? I developed a breath analyser to monitor glucose instead of pricking for blood every day. The breath analyser does not only eliminate the pain of monitoring but also leads to more pain free measurements per day and this leads to better management of diabetes, less amputations – which are other exacerbated by finger sepsis from pricking – and less mortalities from diabetes.
How have you found the show? It has been a wonderful experience so far. I am really excited to have made the Top 10 and am looking forward to the remainder of the journey.
What have you learnt so far? One gets to know what the public expects from one’s research and innovation. There much more rigour from the business community.
What has been your most nerve wracking moment? The idea of being dropped into a pit so deep can be very traumatic as well as embarrassing, particularly as it is being broadcast on television.
Who is your favourite backer and why? Bongang Mohale, he is very jovial and makes one relax while at the same time being quite stern and analytical.
Chelsea Anne Hornby
Suburb and province where you live: Poortview, Roodepoort, Gauteng
Company name: Elle International
Invention: In developing countries young girls miss large portions of the school year because they are unable to afford female sanitary products. This is a big problem as it also affects their confidence during puberty. Elle: Women’s Period Cup can provide a solution. It’s an easy to use, hypoallergenic, leak-free and chemical-free, reusable menstrual cup. It’s easy and relatively inexpensive to produce.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? I’m a 24-year-old proudly South African, passionate ‘socialpreneur’ that finds the greatest joy in seeing others reach their potential and overcome obstacles they thought unassailable.
After I became aware of this harsh and very real situation in Africa that other women have to face I have wanted to shatter the taboo and stigma around menstruation and introduce a product that completely meets every girl’s need while being affordable, sustainable and environmentally friendly. So, Elle International was conceived and it has been touching girls’ lives ever since.
I am from a Marcomms background having completed my Bachelor of Social Sciences degree with higher distinction in 2015 at Monash University South Africa.
Fresh out of high-school, I founded a company with the intention of improving feminine hygiene management and how society perceived periods. While working full time to support my full-time studies, I started to take a deeper look into the experiences that women had with menstrual hygiene management in impoverished countries in Africa and India. This sparked an intense passion within me to break the silence around periods and the struggles females endure.
I have since invested my life savings into donating menstrual cups to girls in impoverished areas which has successfully helped keep young women in school and enhance their dignity, mobility and empowerment.
To make the ElleCup project sustainable, I have launched the Buy One Give One campaign, where for every ElleCup bought – one is donated to girls in impoverished areas.
Where did you get the idea for your invention? For the past two and a half years, I have been researching the status and issues surrounding menstrual hygiene management in Africa, which led me to design my own menstrual cup and have it manufactured in a small quantity of 500 units – which I took with me to Niger.
After my presentation to over 60 leading gynaecological specialists and professors at Issaka Gazobi Maternity Hospital in Niger, the leading Professor, Nayama Madi, shared with me the truth about menstrual hygiene management in that country and told me that an issue that they see every day is that girls in their communities and cities have no prior education or knowledge about menstruation or how to correctly manage it.
Girls, especially in poor areas where malnutrition and no water are prevalent issues, cannot even afford food so how are they supposed to manage their periods hygienically? Ashamed, scared and embarrassed of what is happening to them – thinking that it may either be witchcraft, a bleeding disorder, blood cancer, a curse or that they are dying, they are left alone not knowing what it is that is happening to them or how to manage it.
As a result, these girls use unsanitary materials – old cleaning rags, animal skins, dirt, other forms of waste – which causes them to contract serious diseases which eventually turn septic. This is a serious issue I was informed and the silence needed to be broken.
I decided that this was a challenge worth tackling and a cause worth fighting for; a global crisis I could not ignore. Only 6% of girls in Niger have some prior knowledge about menstruation when they start their periods. Thus 94% of girls have no knowledge at all about what is happening to them when they start menstruating.
Experiencing this reality in a country that was not my own – I came back to explore the reality in South Africa – which led me to develop and formulate the disinfectant spray included in my product pack so it can be used and reused in areas where there is no access to running water. I worked with top pharmacists and chemists who helped to formulate a mechanism that is the most comprehensive menstrual hygiene management solution on the market.
What do you hope to achieve with your invention? I hope it bring relief to women in impoverished areas and equip them to do anything they previously felt they could not. I see it keeping girls in school and helping advance learnership abilities for those who often miss school because of their periods. I hope the disinfect spray treats many girls for bacterial vaginosis and other related infections. I hope it instils a sense of empowerment throughout the continent – because when you empower a woman, you empower a family, you empower a nation and the whole community and he whole economy benefits.
How have you found the show? So far I have enjoyed it and the people I have met. I think it is an incredible opportunity to be put together with such brilliant minds who all have much needed inventions. I have learnt a lot and I am excited for the next round of the show with the other top 10 finalists.
What have you learnt so far? I have learnt that as an entrepreneur, it is normally very difficult to trust others with anything to do with your business. It is very seldom that someone else shares the same passion as you do. The most important thing really is the commitment to your business and understanding that, as an entrepreneur there might be some skills that you don’t have. And when you don’t have those skills you’ve got to buy those skills and make sure that the people who you work with understand your passion – and you build each other within the business. Like the African proverb says “if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” This is the only way I believe the business will go far, is if I find partners that both understand my passion for what I do as well as fill the gap in both skills and resources.
What has been your most nerve wracking moment? Definitely when my “fate” was decided by the backers for the selection of the top 10. Seeing other contestants drop through a trapdoor in the floor was very intimidating as I knew that could be me.
Who is your favourite backer and why? It’s hard to choose a favourite backer to be honest. They all inspire me. But the backer I admire the most is Dr Iraj Abedian. He is a man known for his integrity, unwavering honesty and his straight talking – and these are qualities I hold very important in my business as well as in my personal life. He is a man who was born to humble beginnings in a rural village in Iran with no running water and no electricity, to a family of subsistence farmers. For me, this is one of the best testimonies of not allowing your environment to define you, your worth and your future and the only way that you are going to change your environment – is if you change your way of thinking.
Anything you would like to add? I really believe in myself but I also know that the struggles, challenges and adversity I face all serve to mould and strengthen me into a more resistant, wise and informed individual. I know this journey is not going to be easy – but I know it is necessary. We all need to work together to make substantial change in this life and in our world.
Company name: Rossouwtech
Invention: Mosquito repellent lamp – a product that uses heat from the light bulb of lamps to provide a heating source to evaporate a deterrent against insects such as mosquitoes. It is easy to use and doesn’t require additional electricity
Suburb and province where you live: I live in Klerksdorp in the North-West province.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? I have numerous innovations that I am working on. Lampellent was my innovation for 2017.
I have been innovating for the last 10 years or so, but I only started entering innovation competitions in 2015 when I entered the Inventors Garage competition in Cape Town. I achieved second place that year with a backup-light called RE-LIT that I designed to help with load-shedding. It was also featured on SABC3 ‘s Expresso show. In 2016, I designed a product called Window-sol that was a finalist in the GCIP (Global Cleantech Innovation Programme).
Since 2015 I have tried to take one of my innovations to market every year. A provisional patent only costs R65 and gives you 12 months to get funding before it expires. The reason for entering innovation competitions is because they don’t usually require certain criteria to enter which makes them fair game for everybody. I have not been successful yet, but I feel this show might change things for me.
I have website that shows some of my concepts: www.rossouwtech.com
I grew up in Orkney where I went to school. I have a twin brother that lives in Cape Town and a younger brother that also lives in Klerksdorp. My father worked on the local mines and my mother worked at a clothing shop. After school my twin brother and I went to serve in the SA Navy. We hoped to further our studies through the national defence force but unfortunately, we didn’t match the criteria, so l left after basics but my brother stayed on for eight years. I was unable to get work at the mines when I returned from the Navy and worked as a waiter.
I wrote a now published novel called Guardian: The Guard of Legion during my off time. A family member in Johannesburg managed to get me a job as a desktop publisher where I learned to do graphic designing. A year later I started a printing business in Klerksdorp where I do digital and 3D printing, designing and engineering.
I have also diversified into manufacturing first-aid training kits and have been spending more time on my product innovations. I am married with three children – a boy aged 13 and two girls, eight and five. They are my biggest fans, my inspiration and the will to go on when things get tough. Many people, including family and friends think that pursuing something like becoming a successful inventor is an unlikely possibility, but I think the odds are much better than winning the Lotto, so it’s possible. I would rather fail a thousand times trying than to wonder if I might have been successful had I tried. I always say, “failure is much less painful than regret.”
Where did you get the idea for your invention? I always focus on social innovations when entering competitions. There is a huge need to provide the underprivileged and poor with affordable and effective solutions to problems that they are facing.
One of the biggest problems in the world that poor people face is malaria. Mosquito-borne disease are responsible for close to a million deaths annually, infecting around a billion people every year. I was looking to design a product that would be more effective and more affordable than products already on the market. Something that would act as a social innovation, but also have market potential. My mosquito diffuser is three times cheaper than the cheapest electric heater on the market. It does not use additional electricity to work and is compatible with refills from all major brands.
What do you hope to achieve with your invention? I hope to get the attention of a multi-national brand that supplies insecticide products to supermarkets, because this product is already compatible with their refills. I would be open to supplying or a licensing arrangement. If they took the product it would be directly available worldwide to the people that are affected. It will also then be available to the average household, offering a more effective and affordable solution to mosquito bites.
How have you found the show? I had a very tough year financially, so our DSTV was the first thing to go. Luckily a friend mentioned it to me just before the entries closed. It has been a fabulous experience so far.
What have you learnt so far? I think one the things that became the most apparent to me while meeting the other competitors is that we are all in the same boat and that organisations set in place to help innovators in South Africa are failing miserably – even those that they are supposed to empower. I also learnt to be compassionate and open-minded when discussing innovations with other innovators. It was great to meet so many like-minded people.
What has been your most nerve wracking moment? I took the competition in stages. I am an optimist, but also a realist. I was sceptical at first about my chances of making it to the final few, but after making the top 50, I just wanted to be in the top 10. This in my mind would give me the confidence to feel that I am one of the top 10 innovators in South Africa. Initially standing in front of the backers for the first time, I was thinking that they might like my idea or absolutely hate it and that it would be like in an episode of Shark Tank where they would punch holes through my aspirations, break me and eventually send me falling through that dreaded hole in the floor. That was also stressful. Even the Friday traffic back to Klerksdorp seemed easy after that.
Who is your favourite backer and why? All the backers are top class and experts in their fields, but my favourite backer is Quinton van der Burgh. The guy is a living example that everything is possible. He is a self-made man and I would be listening closely to any advice that might come from him. Looking at what he has achieved and the time he has achieved it in is inspirational. To me he is up there with Elon Musk and Mark Shuttleworth with time to spare. His participation in this show might mean that he is moving his sights on technology innovation and I am excited to see what he gets up to in the future.
Anything you would like to add? I would like to thank Cell C for this initiative. I know it might just be about good TV and publicity, but I don’t think they realise just how rare an opportunity this is for an innovator, especially guys like most of us that are working a day job and innovating at night while the rest are dreaming. Because a dream is what innovation is to us!
Suburb and province where you live: Parkview, Johannesburg
Company name: Reel Gardening
Invention: Reel Gardening makes planting your own food simple! It is a pre-fertilised, pre- spaced colour coded seed tape. To plant, place in the ground, add water and sun and the plants will grow out of the paper, healthy and correctly spaced.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? I am a passionate social entrepreneur. I invented Reel Gardening when I was 16 and in grade 10 at Rosebank Convent in Johannesburg. I studied my Masters in Architecture at the University of Pretoria and am an extremely creative person. I love problem solving and coming up with new methodologies. I love design.
I am a mom to a wonderful two-year-old little dude called Connor. I am a wife to my soul mate, Sean, whom I have loved for the last 12 years. I love animals and have two rescue dogs who rule the roost, along with Connor. I love my family and they are the most important part of my life. I come from a large crazy family which grew when my mom re-married. I have three sisters and one brother. Both my biological siblings, Ali and Duncan, are entrepreneurs so I am a family of entrepreneurs. My mom and dad both ran their own businesses, my mother as a social worker and my dad a Quantity Surveyor, and they instilled independent thinking in all of us. I have family dinner every Thursday evening with my family and family-in-law and it is my favourite night of the week.
Where did you get the idea for your invention? When I was 16 years old my parents said they would buy vegetables from me if I grew them in our small backyard. I was excited by the opportunity to make additional allowance and I thought growing vegetables would be far easier than it actually was!
I felt completely overwhelmed when having to choose the correct seed and fertiliser, I had no clue what I was doing and so I just chose the packet that looked the prettiest. I was then angered by the volume I was required to purchase even though I only had a few square feet available to plant but it was when I was sitting in the dirt with a tape measure between my knees failing to get the seed to remain in the ground where I needed it to did I realise I needed help.
I asked my domestic Meggie to help me and in her reservation to help, she began to explain her personal planting experience to me with her facing even more barriers than I had. Meggie couldn’t understand the instructions written on the back of the seed packet as she did not know how to read. Meggie also did not have the luxury of piped water where she lived and so she would have to walk many miles to collect water in a bucket to carry home and put on a bare patch of earth in the hope that there was still seed in it. Meggie then got really excited when little shoots began to emerge, she diligently watered these shoots every day with the little water she had only to realise weeks later that she had been nurturing weeds. A defeated Meggie felt like she didn’t have the knowledge or resources necessary to successfully grow her own food and so she decided she would never attempt to grow her own food again. I was on day one of my planting journey but I had already felt defeated and so in that moment I decided that I needed to simplify planting and make it accessible and enjoyable to both Meggie and I. Reel Gardening is the solution.
What do you hope to achieve with your invention? I hope to get everyone, regardless of your level of education, access to resources or land, to be able and excited to grow your own food. I want to connect people with where their food comes from, joining the planting revolution.
How have you found the show? I have found it inspiring and I look forward to growing through it.
What have you learnt so far? That there are so many inspirational and creative South Africans there are out there!
What has been your most nerve wracking moment? Pitching to the four backers.
Who is your favourite backer and why? I am in awe of each one of the backer’s achievements and determination, it is impossible to choose a favourite as they are all exemplary entrepreneurs each with a very different approach, purpose and passion. I am looking forward to learning from each of them.
Suburb and province where you live: Alberton Gauteng
Company name: SA Polyhammer (Pty) Ltd
Invention: The Polyhammer replaces the need for copper and rubber hammers in underground mining. Regulation in South Africa stipulates that all metal tools that can create sparks in a gas filled environment should be replaced by something that won’t generate a spark. Traditional copper and rubber hammers are used but just don’t have the life span and strength of the new Polyhammer. This durable hammer is made from polymers and comes in different shapes, sizes and colours.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? I am a religious family man, married to Samantha for 10 years with two beautiful boys Ethen (9) and Declan (7). I enjoy sports; I play action cricket from time to time, am part of a vets rugby team and love my golf.
I come from a big family; my dad is my hero and I have four brothers and a sister.
I work hard in our business, a polymer plant which I bought in 2011, which is based around manufacturing our hammers and we also specialise in repairing rock breakers for the mining and plant hire industries.
I spend a lot of my free time driving a campaign which is very dear to me #67days4SA #MadeinSA #Boet. The campaign is aimed at promoting local manufacturing.
I’ve made many mistakes but each step has led me to where I am right now and I’ve learned that passion and commitment beats knowledge and skills. I am that glass half-full type of person; I love mentoring and seeing people succeed; I love motivating people to do better and reach their full potential; I’ll be the one to pick you up when you fall and while I like my quiet time, I also love socialising, enjoy my music and am the best air guitarist – self-proclaimed – in the world!
I was part of The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship 2016 where I got invited to present to a special delegation which is part of the Virgin Unite foundation. I’ve been part of the Inventors Garage Competition 2015 SA Innovation summit and then in 2016 was invited to represent Ekhureleni at the Inventors Garage Competition where we came third.
Where did you get the idea for your invention? In 2011 when I bought the Polymer plant I saw a hammer on their floor, something they really saw no value in. But I got behind my lathe and redesigned what today is The Polyhammer. It was launched with our last R1000. My target was to turn out four hammers a day. Since then we have grown in all aspects of the business showing more than 100 percent growth year-on-year. Everything about Polyhammer is to show South Africans that you can start with nothing and achieve so much … you’ve got to have a passion for what you do and keep pushing!
What do you hope to achieve with your invention? As the reinventor of the hammer, we want to set the precedent for new safety standards. I would like to increase distribution and production to triple digit growth by next year and, by doing so, create new employment opportunities for South Africans. I’d like to be the only brand, mine managers and safety officers think of when it comes to the safest hammers in the world. Ultimately, I would like to become an innovation hub where I can identify gaps in the market, create products and market and sell them off to a suitable strategic partner.
How have you found the show? I’m quite excited about the show…. It gives me a much greater platform to promote #MadeinSA #Boet!
What have you learnt so far? I took a lot from Pavlo Phitidis’ session on pitching.
What has been your most nerve wracking moment? So far nothing’s had me in a panic but let’s see how it goes as we progress.
Who is your favourite backer and why? I like them all. Each backer brings a different dynamic but Quinton van Der Burgh is my man (with all due respect to the other backers). But let’s not forget Bonang Mohale, I like the principles he stands for and I’m loving his straight-out approach at gaining support for South African businesses. I believe we share a similar sentiment – which is laying a solid foundation for future generations. Connie Mashaba has my respect too. Imagine starting from nothing and achieving so much. And then Dr Iraj Abedian came here with nothing and look how much he has achieved. They are truly inspiring.
Company: Motsoeneng Corporate Agency
Invention: The I-waiter is an electronic button device that attracts the attention of a restaurant waiter via a fashionable vibrating watch. This eliminates the need for frantic waving or dying of thirst while waiting to be served.
Suburb and province where you live: Naturena, Southgate in Johannesburg
Tell us about yourself? I’m a mother first and then a businesswoman and inventor. I was born in Lesotho but my family moved to Ficksburg in 1994. I have five siblings: a brother and four sisters. We were all brought up differently but we all get along. I’m the only one who is creative, innovative and intellectual with a sense of humour. All my siblings are more serious about life and they’re academically driven. One day I want to play a role in changing the educational system in this country as it only seems to cater for academics and intellectuals are often considered dyslexic or ADD.
I have a beautiful daughter, who I think God gave me to make me more determined, because ever since the birth of this beautiful little soul, I have been hustling a lot more. I had to leave her in Ficksburg with my mother and moved to Johannesburg with my partner Ntsikelelo to pursue my invention – the I-Waiter, as small towns have a harder time adapting to technology.
My motto in life is: “I don’t think out of the box, I create the box.”
Where did you get the idea for your invention? I thought of my invention in 2014 when I was a waitress at Wimpy in Ficksburg. Every time I would enquire about the meal or if they were ready to order, the customers would get more and more annoyed.
What do you hope to achieve with your invention? I really do hope to see I-Waiter in all the restaurants in South Africa. Maybe even the rest of the world as they are always bringing their products to us so now it’s time we take our products to them!
How have you found the show? I mentioned in one of my interviews, after the shortlisting, that Hangman is like Idols to us, the inventor, the geek, the businesswoman/man, and the innovator. We have never had a platform like this before to demonstrate and showcase our inventions or products. I really pray and hope that a show like Hangman continues so others can show off their creations.
What have you learnt so far? I have learnt that I can communicate with people of all races and backgrounds with ease which surprised me at as I never knew that about myself. I also realised that I knew more about my product than I thought I did.
What has been your most nerve wracking moment? The top 10 announcements! I felt my soul leave my body when my name was called by Quinton van der Burgh!
Who is your favourite backer and why? Quinton van der Burgh. Apart from reading my name and telling me I was in the top 10, I think he is also a bit different. I have always wanted to partner with someone different from me, so I that I get to know more things about myself. He appeals to me, especially his ability to operate so many different companies simultaneously. One day I hope to have the same capabilities. I-Waiter is not my only invention, I have one bigger and better in the pipeline. I would really like all of them one day to be operational.
Suburb and province where you live: Yzerfontein, Western Cape
Company name: Halt Lock
Invention: Halt Lock is a revolutionary anti-theft/anti hijacking device that prevents the driveshaft of the stolen vehicle from turning the wheels thus preventing its theft. It’s activated via remote control to ensure distance and safety of the vehicle owner.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? I grew up on a farm near Vryburg in the Northern Cape. It was during my primary school years that I realised farming and rugby were my two big passions in life.
My senior year was at the Technical High School, Wolmaranstad, continuing to live my passion of playing rugby and I ended up playing in the Stellaland Craven Week. I loved it!
For the past 15 years I was the owner of an auto body repair shop in Nelspruit.
I love outdoor living, fiscal exercising, cycling, hunting, fishing and lighting a bushveld fire.
Where did you get the idea for your invention? Seven years ago, a friend of mine (Bossie Bezuidenhout) was shot and killed in his home. This traumatic experience showed me that crime in this country is out of control. I started a non-profit community justice organisation, Bossies Community Justices (BCJ), solely funded by the public. Our focus is to reward the community for information what will prevent criminal activity, assist in tracking down criminals, recover stolen goods/ vehicles etc.
Having my own vehicle stolen years ago, and constantly being in touch with crime and vehicle theft through BCJ, I realised that the need for an effective motor vehicle/truck/TLB anti- theft/ hijacking device is long overdue. Modern vehicles are electronically driven these days making them, even more so, soft targets as criminals over ride these electronic systems and simply drive away with the vehicle. This vehicle theft industry is killing people, robbing individuals and insurance companies of literally billions of rand.
What have you learnt so far? One lesson I have learned is summed up as follows: “Make it happen! Greatness is not where we stand, but in what direction we are moving.
We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but sail we must, and not drift, nor lie at anchor” – Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Sean T Armstrong
Suburb and province where you live: Bedfordview, Gauteng
Company name: STA Healthcare & Pharma Engineering (Pty) Ltd
Invention: Uni Click is a safety syringe that improves the safety, accuracy and precision of medical dosing. Its plastic cylindrical rings on the syringe plunger makes an audible and physical “click” for each millimetre of medicine injected, thus helping prevent overdoses.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am an introvert who has forced myself to become an extrovert. I have always been seen as a little odd by my friends and a scatterbrain doing a million things except the most important one. I am quite simple, I never give up, I enjoy the finer things in life, stay at home with rest of my family and won’t move until I am married. I am kind and I like to see the best in everyone and sometimes trust people too easily.
Where did you get the idea for your invention? I had always seen a big problem with dosage regulation through my studies in medicine and watching my grandparents and my father struggle with getting the right dosages. I started playing with ways to attach a cable tie to a syringe and many other ways to get a click for every unit. Eventually, after much trial and error, I got it right with Uniclick. I checked the patent scope and found this particular design to be novel and inventive. I patented it and started small scale production. It’s taken more than four years to perfect and it’s been really tough to get into the market.
What do you hope to achieve with your invention? I hope to reduce global medication error deaths by cost effectively adding more senses to the administration of medicine.
How have you found the show? Great, well organised and a wonderful crew. It has been very exciting.
What have you learnt so far? I need a team; I need reliable, vetted and skilled people. I need to focus on my strong points and use the limited resources I have at hand wisely.
What has been your most nerve wracking moment? The first time I went on that stage for the first pitch; that and waiting for the feedback.
Who is your favourite backer and why? All the backers are great. However, Quinton van der Burgh has a very persevering and tenacious past and great creativity to reinvent himself after each failure, coming back 10 times stronger.
Sello Paul Malinga
Suburb and province where you live: Khuma in North West province.
Company name: Discovery Technology Systems (Pty) Ltd
Invention: Spinetector Suit – A protective costume or exoskeleton to lessen injuries on the vertebral column, the rib cage and thoracic cavity. It is ideal for use in mining and construction.
Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a 21-year old passionate entrepreneur born and bred in Khuma township, North West. I graduated from Borakanelo high school in 2014 and have been involved in several scientific and business-related projects since 2012 when I was in grade 10.
I have devised a portable water recycling system for rural areas and a safety protective suit for industries and have participated in the South African Youth Water Prize and Eskom Expo 2012 and 2013.
I have funded several start-ups, including Underground Services Holdings, a construction company and NRM Millennials, which taught school children how to use computers and the internet for research as well as encouraging youth leadership into taking effective actions through scientific, environmental, economic and social activities in the community.
I am a graduate from the Youth Technology Innovation Programme of the Technology Innovation Agency and am currently the Chief Executive Officer of Discovery Technology Systems.
Where did you get the idea of your invention from? The Spinetector is an idea which I developed in the after-hours of my school days in 2013. The development came because many devastating fatalities occur in underground mining operations and high-risk construction areas. This was the case in Stilfontein, where I lived, which was experiencing mild earth tremors which were causing problems in the mines.
This instigated a keen interest for instilling safety by inventing a new wearable safety costume which can be used in these working areas.
Much of my research was done with the use of free school internet, consultation and visits to mining areas near the Vaal Reefs, as well as local news about injuries which occur in mining areas. The result was my suit!
What do you hope to achieve with this invention? I aim to propose to the government to pass legislation to make it compulsory for mining companies and high-risk construction industries to provide the Spinetector Suit as part of their PPE to workers. The main intention behind my invention is to reduce injuries and fatalities, associated with the upper body part, in the mining industries and construction sites, by 30 percent.
How have you found the show? It has been a great platform to market my product and company as well as boost my credibility in preparation for the market commercialisation of my product.
What have you learnt so far? How to improve my pitching skills to investors as well as gaining a few ideas on how to improve my product further. The advice I received from Bonang Mohale, regarding the costing of my product as well as the question from Quinton Van der Burg, as to how many products am I intending to sell, has helped me refine my cost structure.
What has been your most nerve wracking moment? My most nerve wracking moment was my first encounter with the backers. I didn’t know what they were expecting from me and how they would assess my pitch. Notwithstanding all that, I delivered my best presentation with my five-year business experience and acumen which is all self -taught.
Who is your favourite backer and why? Quinton Van der Burg because I think I share similar business experiences with him. He started his business when he was young, and encountered several failures along the way but he didn’t quit on his journey to the top.
Suburb and province where you live: Athol, Joburg in Gauteng
Invention: iWipe is a revolutionary new smart toilet paper that turns into a wet wipe when made wet by using regular tap water. It doesn’t break up quickly like normal toilet paper but neither does it stay intact like regular wet wipes.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? I graduated at the University of Johannesburg (former RAU) and am a chartered accountant. I matriculated with an A in maths and science.
Where did you get the idea for your invention? It was based on the research I conducted while I was busy with my TOPP articles, which had nothing to do with my career path. I became curious about the world of science. My study was quite novel, it was a study on the relationship between the human eye and the human anus; where the research found that the two organs are equally intelligent as far as sensitivity is concerned. The rest is history… You can find all details on the company website www.iwipe.co.za
What do you hope to achieve with your invention? I have worked every day since day one on making it the ‘Next Big Thin’ in its field. In fact, in the next 10 years, the iWipe will be a leading toilet paper brand around the world, because “Smart Toilet Paper” is the next level!
How have you found the show? I was introduced to the Hangman competition by The Innovation Hub; my company is being incubated there.
What have you learnt so far? I’ve been inspired by everybody I’ve met; the level of passion is so contagious from the founders of the show and every contestant I’ve had the opportunity to connect with.
What has been your most nerve wracking moment? It is standing on top of that platform and pitching or facing those judges who can have you dropped through the platform and then the game is over for you. We are all confident before getting over there, once you are it’s not funny at all, it’s a serious business…
Who is your favourite backer and why? Quinton van der Burgh – he is a bit intimidating but he doesn’t scare Mr. President!
Anything you would like to add? I think Hangman is the best thing that ever happened to the world of innovation. I see it as a perfect highway to turn great innovations into success stories. There has never been anything quite like it; I’m sure it’s going to go viral and we’ll have many seasons ahead. I’m grateful to be a part of Season 1.