The innovative nature of Africa is playing out across the continent. The media are covering more and more Africa born technologies and awards ceremonies, such as that of the Innovation Prize for Africa, are highlighting Africa’s excellence to the rest of Africa and the world. It is events like IPA and those of Seedstars (who are in focus in this blog) that push and encourage innovative change in Africa, unlike many conferences that just talk about what should happen, without making any tangible difference.
Seedstars are a Swiss organisation who trawl the world for innovation. In Africa, they travel to many countries, seeking innovations which could make it to their final African summit. The last was held in Rwanda, and we featured it here. This week, they will go to Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, but it is the South African addition that will be focussed on here. Winners are given pitch training and support and can then battle it out on the world stage against winners from across the world.
The South African event took place in July, and this blog will showcase some of our favourites from the event, including the winner.
This years winner was in the health sector. Essential Medical Guidance is an app for medical professionals, which enables them to access local clinical facilitation and medicine information around the world. It is a trusted source for clinical guidelines from institutions and experts in a given region. At the moment, it is just in South Africa, but they hope to branch out across the world.
Procedure in hospitals in imperative to optimum medical care, and in some instances in various hospitals in Africa, procedure is not at the top of the list of importance. I have heard of many horror stories where patients have been given the wrong drugs, or wrong dosages leaving to tragic endings. By giving medical professionals access to the relevant procedure and also guidelines on prescriptions and dosages, it will make going to hospital a safer experience.
Guidelines can be published, reviewed and edited, so that they are up to date and relevant for specific regions.
As we have said before, the emergence of Uber has transformed the taxi sector around the world and also in Africa. Lots of competitors are bring their own services to compete with Uber. EmptyTrips is another service in the same area, but dealing with freight and goods, rather than people.
Transporting goods and services within and out of Africa is challenging. Postal services are not always reliable and so many unforeseen circumstances can delay transport. I have friends whose businesses have been impacted heavily by such problems, losing the trust of their customers oversees, at no fault of their own. EmptyTrips combats this by offering discounted competitive rates to customers which also benefits the transporters.
One of the reasons freight costs are often high is that transports have to account for the empty space they are transporting on a return leg of a journey. EmptyTrips links customers with the empty spaces in trains, ships, trucks and planes. You can find or request an empty trip and efficiently transport your goods around the world. No more disappointed customers, and wasted space. The benefit from this comes in many forms, including reducing the carbon footprint.
Setting up a business is costly in any parts of the world. And for small businesses, there are many costs which can make it unfeasible. Africa needs small businesses to flourish to drive the economy forward, but if the funds are not there for things like legal services it is extremely difficult for startups.
Lenoma links ecommerce with law and enables clients to access legal services and documents and a lower price than normal. This means that SME’s can access the services that bigger organisations have, but without such a financial burden. They also make use of digital solutions in order to give better access to solutions, through google hangout or skype meetings.
Access to legal help and assistance is so important to many across Africa. Many do not know their rights and find themselves in difficult situations that a lawyer could have helped them out of. That is one of the reasons the African Law Library was set up. Services like Lenoma are extremely important, because they take away the expensive inaccessible stigma attached to legal services.
In recent years South Africa has struggled with its economy and political situation, but it is encouraging to see that innovation is still pouring out of the country. This is just 3 of the 10 which made the runner up list, all of which were fantastic innovations and will definitely be mentioned in other blogs.
If you know of any innovations in Africa, an innovation that is changing lives, or you also want to be a guest blogger, get in contact with us on Twitter @inventiveAfrica or via email. Please she the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook. Also, don’t forget to check out and like out Facebook page!
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