EcoAct Tanzania, a startup which utilizes used plastic to manufacture durable, cost efficient and environmentally friendly plastic lumber, has emerged winner of the GIST Startup Boot Camp in South Africa, scooping US$2,000 in the process.
The Boot Camp brought together 32 young African teams to learn how to effectively get out of the building and interview potential customers in order to get the information they need to form a successful startup.
The young science and tech entrepreneurs came from all over Africa. The countries of South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Liberia and Mozambique were represented.
For four days, the teams travelled all over Johannesburg and the surrounding areas to complete interviews with potential customers. After completing interviews, many teams pivoted and adapted their startups based on what they learned.
This helped the teams to more closely align their startup with the needs of the market.
The Bootcamp culminated in a Demo Day where selected teams presented their startups to the public, the media and to US Embassy officials.
After much deliberation, a panel of expert judges adjudged EcoAct Tanzania winner of the challenge.
Taking home US$1000 was Pad Heaven (Kenya), which placed second. Pad Heaven converts banana stem waste into affordable, hygienic and 100% bio-degradable sanitary pads.
Winning the Spirit of GIST Award was Green Malasha, a Zambian startup that develops renewable, clean, low-cost biofuel in the form of charcoal briquettes, firewood briquettes and fire starters from natural waste. All the Boot Camp participants voted for the startup.
The GIST Startup Boot Camp took place in Johannesburg, South Africa from April 12 – 15, 2016. It was led by GIST’s Startup Boot Camp implementer VentureWell with in-country support provided by local partners, The Innovation Hub and LeadAfrika.
Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) is a U.S Department of State initiative to empower young innovators through networking, skills building, mentoring, and access to financing to develop startup solutions.