Energy in Industry
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 12:49

The “reel” difference

Website: The SA team showcases African innovation on an international stage.

Africa’s capacity for innovation has been put on the map by a team of South Africans competing successfully in two international social venture competitions.

The Reel Gardening team made headlines for their win in the Hult Prize London regional competition. The team also won the Europe, Middle-East and Africa regional round of the Global Social Venture Competition and will compete at the University of Berkley for prize money of $ 1 million in April.

The Reel Gardening team, which is from the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (UCT-GSB), was formed in November 2012 during the Student Social Venture Programme (SSVP), which was hosted by the GSB’s Net Impact Chapter and the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The programme was created to improve the quality and performance of African universities at global student social business plan competitions.

Through the SSVP, where people with ideas are paired up with MBA students to flesh out social business plans and come up with robust ways of ensuring scalability and impact, the team leveraged their diversity of skills to enhance the core of Reel Gardening’s concept into one that is turning heads in the international social investment community. The Reel Gardening team was joined by Dianna Moore from the GSB’s Social Innovation Lab and Greg Macfarlane, a 2013 Bertha Centre scholar from the GSB Modular MBA programme.

Claire Reid, founder of Reel Gardening, created a very convenient way to package seeds that ensures germination and reduces the amount of water used in the germination phase by 80%. The seeds are packaged in biodegradable material filled with fertiliser.

Reel Gardening’s project manager, Emily Jones, says: “We started doing community development programmes and corporate social responsibility projects where we helped communities to start vegetable gardens.”

As part of the Student Social Venture Programme, the Reel Gardening team will be given the opportunity to further the scalability and impact of their start-up through the Find Make Grow Realise executive education programme at the UCT GSB later this year. This programme will help them to develop the scalable aspects of their business while exposing them to venture capitalists and angel investors.

The founder of the non-profit social venture company Purple Cow Ventures, Riad Masoet, sponsored the team for the trip to London. Jones, who returned from London after the weekend, says the experience has been amazing so far and that the international exposure and UCT-GSB mentorship have helped tremendously in furthering Reel Gardening’s efforts to make a real difference.

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