Since the Design Institute started changing the lives of young entrepreneurs through its 43 Challenge in January this year, there have been several success stories bearing testament to the fact that through design coaching and nurturing, entrepreneurs can eventually achieve success. The 43 Challenge helped candidates embody their product or service into a workable prototype. With this prototype in hand, the candidates could either raise funding or go into an incubation programme where they could be developed further. The Design Institute has access to a multi-disciplinary team of experts consisting of designers, engineers, branding experts and business experts who assisted the entrepreneurs. The process took a multi-layered approach where the first step was to develop the entrepreneurs themselves, then to develop their product or service idea and finally developing the business side of the idea.
Tracking the entrepreneurs’ success was part of the process and here are two candidates who have started making it big.
The Design Institute developed two products for Shalton, the Aeon battery free remote and the Power bag, a laptop bag that harvests radio waves and charges the laptop inside. The Design Institute’s pitching coaching and concept development has led to several successes. Shalton is a finalist in the SAB Innovation Awardsvcompetition for his Aeon battery free remote, he also participated in the ‘Get in the Ring’ pitching competition and was the overall winner for Gauteng and will be competing against the rest of the national winners to stand a chance to go through to the final round in the Netherlands in November. He is also a semi-finalist for Global clean tech innovation programme South Africa. Shalton has done well in two other pitching evenings. The Design Institute has introduced him to the top developer of wireless products in South Africa – Dennis Greenwood; Shalton’s expert advisor on Aeon. The Design Institute has also introduced
Shalton to the CEO of Incredible Connection to further develop the commercial aspects of his business case for the laptop bag.
The Design Institute’s pitching coaching and a sound business model and product design paid off for Sibusiso. He presented Storo at Investec’s Black Jewish entrepreneur’s network and won a strategy session with Allon Raiz. Allon was very impressed with his idea and asked him to give a talk at the Ignition Orientation for Entrepreneurs’ seminar in September. He also invited Sibusiso to be featured on his television show on small businesses on Business Day after he had sold his first product. Allon is a friend of the Institute. Although, the Institute did not introduce the two, the Institute promoted Sibusiso’s case with Allon to encourage his interest in Sibusiso. Sibusiso was featured on the ED channel in June about his product and his journey as an entrepreneur and was approached by ‘Business Connexion, My world of tomorrow’ to be featured on their show.