Eight entrepreneurs vying for R1 million prize to make Jozi a greener city

Tonight, two entrepreneurs out of eight finalists will walk away with R1 million and be crowned the winners of the Green City Startup competition, which opened in January this year to unearth creative green entrepreneurs whose ideas can boost Johannesburg’s “green” culture.

Like with the Hack Jozi startup competition which had its grand finale in July, the City of Joburg has put aside a cumulative amount of R5 million worth of prizes to be distributed among the finalists tonight.

Below is a brief introduction to the startups and the people behind them.

Paseka Lesolang – WHC


Lesolang created the WHC Leak-Less Valve, which prevents 70% of water loss in the case of a toilet leak, saving water and money.

“My grandmother in Ga-Rankuwa, a township north west of Tshwane, used to have such a leaking toilet. Instead of complaining about it, I decided to find a solution which lead to the invention of the WHC Leak-Less Valve,” Lesolang explains.

Louise Meek – #PublicAccess


#PublicAccess is not your average independent furniture maker; the startup specifically makes WiFi benches that also act as an urban data collection tool with an environmental focus.

The WiFi-enabled smart benches become the connection points to run people-centric research as well as to collect vital environmental indicators on the city’s health.

Harald Oswin – FNS


Applied Mathematics Harvard student, Harald Oswin runs FNS, a company that’s currently working on commercialising a low-cost, patented water controller that can easily regulate hot water washing loads.

The matchbox- sized product helps consumers to reduce their energy consumption, and helps energy distributors to shift peak load.

Sean Moolman – Power Optimal


Power Optimal is an energy management startup with a range of technologies that the company says helps reduce peak power demand by 30 to 50%, with very little impact on activities, helping commercial customers save up to 20% on their electricity bills.

Neil du Preez – Mellowcabs


Mellowcabs has been around since 2014, starting off in Cape Town and offering citizens the chance to commute cheaply within a three- kilometre radius through the city using an electric mini-cab.

All Mellowcabs emit zero  carbon emissions and cabs are requested via a mobile app.

Gabriel Ally – Geza Jozi


Geza Jozi’s solution is simple, to help reduce the city’s landfill waste so that it doesn’t end up with a space shortage problem as predicted by environmental experts.

This is why Ally came up with the Recycle e-Trike, a 500w electrically-assisted tricycle designed to double the output of reclaimers (the guys who walk around city streets hauling big trolleys filled with cardboard or plastic bottles) and improve their safety on the road.

The Recycle e-Trike is fitted with disc brakes, brake lights, indicators, a headlamp and an interesting-sounding hooter.

Yolandi Schoeman – Boaberry


Using her background in ecological and civil engineering, Schoeman developed the Boaberry product to address water and sanitation challenges in various areas in the city, from informal settlements to heavy manufacturing industries.

Darius Boshoff – Energidrop


Energidrop is a solar trucking company that harnesses solar energy through a specially-designed roof-mounted unit for trucks, and integrates it into the vehicles’ onboard electrical system.

Boshoff also works as a waste to energy schemes consultant and is currently working on a number of biogas and biomass projects.

While only two of them can walk away with the really big money tonight, we know who really wins with competitions like this: future generations and the environment. Well done to all involved!

We wish all contenders the best of luck for tonight’s award ceremony.


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