The Innovation Hub, Gauteng’s leading innovation agency, is home to many an enterprising and creative entrepreneur.
Two young entrepreneurs, affiliated to the Innovation Hub, are doing their part to help alleviate South Africa’s most pressing challenges: managing the Covid-19 pandemic and the knock it has given the economy.
Located in Tshwane, The Innovation Hub (TIH) is the agency responsible for the conceptualisation and implementation of innovative programmes in the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) with priority focus areas in Smart Industries, Bio-Economy and Green Economy. The Innovation Hub has created spaces for high-tech entrepreneurs, businesses, academics, researchers and venture capitalists to meet, network and prosper.
Sylvester Msuthwana, a 28-year-old entrepreneur whose company, Patient Health, is being incubated in TIH’s Maxum Smart Business Incubator programme, has launched a proudly-South-African multilingual Covid-19 assist platform.
The platform digitally tracks, monitors and stores screening data of people visiting public spaces such as schools, businesses and healthcare facilities.
What differentiates this platform from other Covid-19 tracking platforms is that it is available in all 11 official South African languages, with an audio option for the visually impaired.
“Research shows that second-language learners’ poor reading comprehension is often because of limited vocabulary. Greater vocabulary makes comprehension easier. We have, therefore, made it possible for people to complete their screening questionnaire in their home language,” explains Msuthwana.
The platform is paid for on a monthly subscription basis. A unique link is sent to the registered organisation, which then gets distributed to visitors for use when entering the premises.
It is important to note that all visitors are screened, and details are accurately recorded according to the requirements of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The information is securely stored, and a customised dashboard allows the organisation access to downloadable records.
Another young South African entrepreneur who has risen to the challenge and made a difference by creating jobs in a harsh economic climate is Phillip Enock, founder of ShareTrip, a group travel experience offering.
The new company, also incubated in TIH’s Maxum Smart Business Incubator Programme, has already created 18 jobs.
“Covid-19 has allowed us to rethink our problems and also recalculate our solutions. As innovators, it has allowed us to forecast the future of travel and tourism,” says Enock.
ShareTrip is a travel app that allows users to plan their trip as well as choose the activities that they would like to do at each location in advance. It enables a group of people who want to take a trip to have a shared experience.
“Traveling in a group is much more affordable,” explains Enock. “ShareTrip makes this process more convenient as costs can be shared on the app, allowing everyone to plan their travels and share responsibilities effectively.”
Enock’s inspiration comes from his nomadic upbringing. His passion for travelling made him realise that those around him did not travel because of how costly it could be. A part of the company’s success is that the team uses forecasting models to help create pricing trends for future travellers – making ShareTrip’s app accurate and convenient for travellers to use.
ShareTrip features include an extensive library of different itineraries that users can choose from – and the option to share this experience with others on social media.
The app is not yet available for mobile, but it is freely accessible from the web.
Tsietsi Maleho, acting-CEO of The Innovation Hub’s, commends the two entrepreneurs for their work. “A true innovator always sees the possibilities, not the limitations.
“The current pandemic has allowed these two young gentlemen to think of innovative ideas that improve the state of South Africa’s economy, as well as how we curb the spread of the virus. The implications of Covid-19 have fast-tracked the need for this technology, and we’re proud to have helped incubate the solutions.”