How Winners of Golden Circle Plan to Make a Difference

Food delivery app KasiFlavor and edutech playform ERank Play went head-to-head against start-ups working on similar ideas. Their plans for growth set them apart to become the first winners of Golden Circle in June 2022.

Golden Circle is a platform hosted by Motsepe Foundation for young, semi-established entrepreneurs who are searching for capital injections and looking to build national and international networks that will expand their impact and their capacity to do good.

The inaugural Golden Circle, held during the Information & Opportunities Expo, received over 80 submissions. The final four presented their business case to judges Allan Raiz, Brain Dames, Brian Smith, Herman Singh and Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa. Winners were chosen based on strict criteria including the business ability to address a social need and ensure financial sustainability.

Mlamuli Mavundla stood waiting, for 45-mins, to buy chicken dust (grilled chicken) from a local food outlet. Annoyed at the experience, and worried that this inconvenience could prevent customers from buying there, Mavundla started KasiFlavor.

The informal, or township economy, is known to exist but not enough data encapsulates its true economic contributions or its future potential. With KasiFlavor, Mavundla hopes to change this by formalising the informal and by capturing information that will encourage investment into this dynamic space.

More established delivery apps are connected to established restaurants, often in more affluent postal codes, and work with freelance drivers who service their own vehicles or bikes. These restaurants already have processes in place that allow their smooth customer to restaurant virtual transactions. Mavundla quickly learned that this is not the case for the township economy. For many food outlets there is only one individual responsible for making the food, interacting with customers, and purchasing daily supplies. Introducing KasiFlavor often adds to their workload, requiring owners of these outlets to check for new orders whilst also managing everything else.

Unlike other delivery apps, KasiFlavor wants to take their growth slow. With 25 active township outlets, over 100 outlets on their waiting list, and an average of 300 orders a month, Mavundla assists the outlets with optimising their processes before onboarding. This allows outlets to compete effectively with their established counterparts, with a focus on customer service.

Still in infancy, KasiFlavor is a finalist in the SAB SHARP awards and is planning to bring on-board small-scale produce suppliers from rural areas to cater to the township ecosystem.

Currently working in the financial sector, Mavundla built KasiFlavor from his own income. A serial entrepreneur, he has succeeded and failed more than once but he remains aligned to a mission of creating sustainable opportunities for others.

“Fear drives me,” says Thobeka Nkabinde, the 26-year-old post-grad psychology student and founder of ERank Play. After impersonating her friend, filling her spot at the last minute to attend a Design Thinking Methodology session, Nkabinde was introduced to the potential of ICT. Challenged to solve a South African problem, Nkabinde set out to create a platform that will improve learners’ outcomes and engagement with mathematics.

The pandemic put a damper on her research process, with the closure of schools shifting her surveys into the social media realm. There, she gleaned valuable insights into Gen Z’s ability to adapt to remote and online forms of learning (her research suggests that 87.5% of students surveyed prefer playing maths than learning the traditional way).

Currently focusing on Grade 8 and 9 learners via WhatsApp, ERank Play has been 2-years in the making. Since entering the prototyping phase, it has won the Enactus MTN ICT Challenge, the 2022 Enactus Nationals Development League and is a finalist for the MTN Women in Digital Business Challenge.

The game caters to the evolving digital lives of the Gen Z cohort and incorporates a well-known South African reality. Sitting in the front of a taxi can be a nerve-wrecking experience for someone who isn’t quick with their mental maths. Counting change as people hand-in their taxi fare inspired the gamified learning platform.

Nkabinde was encouraged by her entrepreneurial parents, and the moving message of Former Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi to take up space. Working alongside a team of six, ERank Play is working towards initiating school activations across the country, developing a maths marathon for a community of young math lovers, and introducing games for grade 1 to 3 learners who are showing limited maths abilities due to the pandemic disruptions. For Nkabinde, the mission is to expand to other provinces before going global.

Repairing the challenges that have been made starkly visible since the pandemic, Mavundla and Nkabinde are part of an entrepreneurial-minded group who are building sustainable systems.

Due to high volumes of submissions, from several impactful enterprises, a second session of Golden Circle will air on Friday, 29 July 2022.

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