Paperight was fortunate enough to be invited to the second round of the SAB Innovation Awards, held this past week at the SAB Training Institute in Barbeque Downs, Johannesburg, as one of 25 finalist “innovations” going head-to-head for a number of seed grants and prizes of up to R1 million.
The occasion brought together some of the country’s brightest entrepreneurs for three days of workshops and adjudications. Projects came from every nook of South Africa, and from wildly different fields: disease diagnostics, indigenous South African medicine, driver simulation, grassroots recycling, rural outdoor advertising, organic marula oil production, fish farming – and us.
It was a privilege to meet and spend time with such exciting ideasmiths – I would hesitate to call them businesspeople outright – and to be able to pitch our idea to the assembled judges. Such was the occasion that Arthur gave up literally hours of his precious bonding time with his newborn son Aidan to help me out at the presentation.
Unfortunately, we weren’t selected to go through to the third (and final) round of adjudication, but the richness of the experience, the bonds I made with new-found friends (or so I like to think), as well as the ability to get a few days out of Cape Town to get some much-needed perspective made the trip more than worth the couple hours spent contemplating death in a rickety old MD-80 at 30 000 feet.
Congratulations and best wishes to the finalists, and thanks to the SAB Foundation for bringing us up. We’ll be attending the awards ceremony on 1 November at SAB HQ in Sandton, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all again then!