The six winners of the Attacq Retail Innovation Entrepreneurs Challenge were recently announced, after a strict adjudication process was followed. The winners were awarded seed funding of R100 000 as well as incubation support from the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab.
Over the past four months, a network of university campus-based business incubators, known as LaunchLab, ran an entrepreneurial challenge across partner university campuses in the Western Cape and Gauteng region to unleash innovation in retail. This was done in partnership with Attacq, a leading capital growth fund in the real estate sector.
The Challenge formed part of the LaunchLab’s Breakthrough Innovation Platform that officially kicked off with two Briefing Workshops, held on 11 August 2016 at the iconic Mall of Africa in Johannesburg and on 19 August 2016 at the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab. More than 50 aspiring and practicing entrepreneurs and enthusiasts from the retail, technology and property industry attended the workshops.
Attacq provided an overview of the business, allowing participants to understand first-hand the challenges and opportunities within the retail sector, thereby providing content for the Retail Challenge and ensuring clarity around their business ideas. The Challenge was open to anyone with an innovative idea specifically for the retail and property industry and ideas were either pitched at participating campuses or submitted online.
The LaunchLab received a significant number of submissions, which were then narrowed down to the top ten finalists. The finalists pitched their retail innovation ideas on 19 October 2016 at the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab to a panel of judges consisting of six senior executives selected from Attacq, Coronation and LaunchLab.
“We were impressed with the high quality of pitches at the final event. Our intention was to access new ideas and create the next breakthrough innovation in retail by addressing the e-commerce needs of our clients and customers. The submission had to enhance the customer’s experience of comfort and convenience, as well as solve payment issues within the Attacq portfolio and overcome general operational issues that may arise,” says Michael Clampett, Head of Asset Management at Attacq.
“Attacq will carefully monitor the development of these six winning business ideas during the next six months to gauge their potential and value-add to our existing clientele,” states Clampett.
“LaunchLab’s Breakthrough Innovation Platform is ideal for established businesses that are looking to tap into new markets and future revenue streams by accessing new external breakthrough ideas,” says Philip Marais, LaunchLab’s CEO.
“External business ecosystems such as LaunchLab are far better equipped to incubate new creative ideas effectively and efficiently. The established business can stick with its proven business model, while LaunchLab helps the budding entrepreneurs to discover new business models. LaunchLab monitors the progress of their business ideas and mentors the entrepreneur, with assistance from the established business, through the LaunchLab Lift-Off Programme process,” adds Marais.
The ATTACQ Retail Innovation Challenge winners, who will proceed to the Knowledge Acceleration and LaunchLab Lift-Off Programmes, are:
- Anneli Krige Nel from Slippy – a digital receipt tool
- Jacobus Kriel from Grocer – E – Merging e-commerce with retail
- Bradley Hornby from WizzPass – A solution for paying for parking at controlled access parking
- JD Naude and Charl Cillie from SwiftPay – A RFID inventory tracking and Queue Eliminator
- Courtney Bentley from Visibiliti Insight – A platform to track revenue trends and make recommendations
- Werner Mostert from Spatial Edge – Assisting shopping centre owners understand and engage with customers using big data and analytics