Kenyan, Tanzanian, South African startups win top innovation awards

Three startups, one each from Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, have been selected as the most innovative enterprises in Africa owing to their capacity to address various societal challenges.

Kenya’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre (WEEE Center) emerged as first runners up at this year’s Sankalp Africa Awards that were held virtually early this month.

South African, health start-up Iyeza Express emerged the winner, while Tanzania’s natural oil processing enterprise, ORBI emerged second runner’s up.

“Sankalp Forum is one of our largest initiatives that aims to bring the community together to help solve the problems that face us through cutting edge innovation and high potential entrepreneurship,” said Arielle Molino, Sankalp Lead and AVP Intellecap Africa.

Improper disposal of electronic waste, or e-waste including throwing them in the dumpsite and burning them. This exposes the environment to toxins resulting in elevated risks of cancer and developmental and neurological disorders.

Globally, some 51.3 million tonnes of e-waste are generated annually while in Kenya, slightly more than 50 thousand tonnes are produced.

“We stepped in to offer proper ways of e-waste management using technology and through creating awareness,” said Boniface Mbithi, the chief executive at WEEE Centre.

Since its inception in 2012, the startup has handled 10,000 tonnes of e-waste and created over 600 green jobs.

South Africa’s Iyeza Express transports several boxes of medical drugs at a time, reaching the intended users in rural areas on time, thus saving lives.

This single courier has stepped in to solve the poor infrastructure challenge that has denies patients in rural areas medication for weeks.

Currently, Iyeza delivers medication to over 1000 people in Khayelitsha, Cape Town and employs local residents as specialised chronic medicine delivery service.

Tanzania’s ORBI focuses on processing and supplying healthier edible oils. It works with local farmers directly to source the seeds and promote fair price trade, offer seed crushing services to manufacturing companies for oil.

The Sankalp summit/forum is organised by Intellecap, a global investment and advisory firm, and is aimed at facilitating connections, collective learning and a collaborative approach to building entrepreneurial ecosystems.

The summit recognises high potential entrepreneurs with 10 enterprises competing for the coveted Sankalp Africa Award each year.

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