Team Solenergy emerge victorious from the Wits "Dragons Den"


From the moment team Solenergy entered the Wits Intrapraneurs Pitching Session, (dubbed as the Wits "Dragons Den"), it was obvious that they were ready for anything that the "Dragons" (York Zucchi, Hello Health and chairman of the Innovation Hub's Start-Up Fund, Alex Fraser, ex InVenFin, Ela Romanowska, Ex TIA and Director of Wits Tech Transfer, and Dr Chris Callaghan, the School of Economic and Business Sciences) could or would throw their way. Team Solenergy was the winning team at the recent Wits Intrapreneurs Pitching Session, a pitching competition for 3rd year students enrolled for a course in Innovation Management and Intrapreneurship at the Wits School of Economics and Business Sciences (SEBS) hosted in collaboration with the Wits Tech Transfer Unit (TTU). This team of five made a flawless pitch on their innovative idea, a solar powered multiple mobile phone charging station. The "Dragons" praised their well distilled presentation that covered the essence of the product, how each team member was fully engaged in presenting and championing the product, and their constructive style in hearing and taking on board their feedback. Team Solenergy will be meeting with the Wits TTU team to discuss potential intellectual property protection and commercialisation strategies for their idea.

Eight teams pre-selected from approximately 50 teams were invited into the 'den' to pitch their innovative ideas. After each pitch the teams received constructive feedback and actionable advice from the 'Wits Dragons'. Team Solenergy won 1st place and teams VIMO and The Enforcer took 2nd and 3rd place.

"Congratulations to all the pitching teams, the standard was a definite step up from the inaugural Wits Intrapraneurs Pitching Session last year", commented Ela Romanowska, who heads up the tech transfer team. "Special thanks goes to Hazel Mathye, and other members of my team who worked with Dr Callaghan and the participating teams, to make this a smooth, quality event.

The Innovative Products and Services pitched included:

  • Self - Torx: The Self-Torx screwdriver bit is a self-adjusting Torx screw driver head that selects the right size tip to fit the Torx screw head that you are working with. The bit is made up of 3 or 4 common bit sizes and tailored to various industries. Users simply choose a "Cell Phone" bit if that is what they are working on. No more fussing with "What size do I need now?". This innovation allows for customer specific marketing, for example, to cell phone or PC technicians as well mechanics and other industries.
  • Solenergi: Solenergi is a solar powered mobile phone charging station that provides users with a safe and secure locker to charge their mobile phones.
  • Reinventing the Boom: Reinventing the Boom is an innovation which uses RFID technology to enhance the current traffic boom model thereby improving the university's overall efficiency with regards to traffic control at the entrance and exit points.
  • The Trio-Brush - A united oral hygiene care tool: The Trio-Brush, a unified oral hygiene care tool. This ground-breaking device incorporates all that is needed to maintain healthy oral hygiene habits and practiceconveniently into one instrument. The Trio-Brush is a toothbrush with an integrated refill-able toothpaste compartment and a pump mechanism to deliver the toothpaste to the bristles to ensure ease of use and cleanliness for the user. The Trio-Brush also has an integrated water spout for rinsing convenience which restricts spills and mess.
  • The Enforcer: The Enforcer is a new technology designed to make driving more rewarding, by allowing drivers to record and report the traffic infringements and other crimes that surround motor vehicles on a daily basis. A public Enforcer!
  • VIMO - Vintage Meets Modern: VIMO is a small to medium clothing boutique with a twist. VIMO clothes are made from old seemingly unwearable items which the design team turns into hip and trendy items of clothing at a reasonable price.
  • The Student Caves: The student cave is a safe and secure means for students to house their belongings on campus. The modernized lockers make use of a finger print recognition system, to give entry to each cave, while utilizing cameras to ensure ultimate safety.
  • Access: Access is a revolutionary mobile application which provides an alternative to the use of physical cards and the wallet. The application provides users with the ability to scan all their current cards and store new ones on their mobile phones and use this information at various locations where there are scanners. This application makes use of the latest near field communication (NFC) technology available on all new smartphones. The services that will be offered via the application will be applicable to the following cards - work access, residential access, student, gym, movies, retail loyalty, bank, drivers licenses, identification books and passports. 

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