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Start-ups win R1,2m from Total

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Nkazimulo Applied Sciences, started by Bathabile Mpofu, was awarded first prize in the Total Startupper of the Year by Total for her idea of improving the interaction between secondary school students and the concept of science.

Her business aims to extend the relationship of science from the classroom to the home and create an understanding of how science is incorporated in daily life.

Bathabile draws inspiration from her own experience in high school: “I attended a ‘disadvantaged’ secondary school in KwaZulu-Natal and we did not have any science kits. I wanted to pursue a career in chemistry and my first year in tertiary showed me that I was way over my head. Not because I did not have the ability, but I would be playing catchup my whole tertiary life.”

Bathabile did not have exposure to the basic elements of science; meaning the more complex elements of the course would not translate as they should for her. “I want to change this for all students in South Africa.”

Nkazimulo Applied Sciences received R600 000 cash from Total to carry out their vision.

Runner up in the competition is Senovate, a business founded by a young man from Mpumalanga, Themba Sehawu, who came up with a fruit picking machine that aims to increase safety and efficiency when harvesting for the large agriculture sector in South Africa. Senovate walked away with R350 000, while and R250 000 was awarded to third place ConnectMed, a business that aims to bring professional medical assistance to patients on their phones.

A total of R1,2-million was awarded to winners, along with customised support and coaching from Total South Africa.