Women entrepreneurs scoop top honours at energy efficiency awards

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Women entrepreneurs in the clean energy sector walked away with top honours at a recent government startup awards ceremony held last night.

Yolandi Schoeman won the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa, hosted by the Department of Science and Technology’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), as part of a global initiative that aims to identify and support small businesses and startups that provide clean technology solutions.

Schoeman is the CEO of a company called Baoberry, which specialises in ecological engineering and services.

Baoberry also also walked away with the Most Promising Woman-led Business special category award.

Schoeman has over 10 years’ experience in environmental, waste and water management and ecological engineering.

Her company created a solution called a Wetbox, a cost-effective integrated grey water treatment and rainwater harvesting “wetland in a box”, contributing to water optimisation, availability and re-use.

Pamela Alborough’s company, SanAqua HCA, which has developed an electronic water treatment component capable of improving treatment of small to large quantities of water, from 1kl per hour up to very large plants, came in second place.

Eastern Cape native, Sandiswa Qayi, won the Most Promising Youth-led Business award.

Qayi’s business, Amahlathi Eco-Tech (AET), created a geyser power-saving solution called the Hot Spot, device which functions like a sleeve can be retrofitted over any standard geyser element to push hot water from the bottom to the top of the geyser using thermosiphon, providing 50 litres of hot water within 30 minutes at 50°C for use by all households and small commercial users.

“GCIP has taught me the value of thorough understanding and development of a business model through validation. This has enabled AET to develop a sound and bankable business plan,” Qayi said about the awards.

“South Africa’s endowment with world-class solar and wind resources, combined with recent strong cost decreases for solar and wind technologies, makes renewable power generation now a cost-competitive new-build option in the country, and will be one building block in South Africa’s move towards a more diversified energy mix,” said Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor.

[Source and image – DST]