Rough entrepreneurial ride ends with a R1 million boost


A rough entrepreneurial journey for Neo Hutiri has ended with a R1 million boost for his business.

With a failed business venture already on his back, Hutiri said he never gave up on his entrepreneurial aspiration. He was announced as the winner of this year’s #Hack.Jozi Challenge on 19 May at Wits Univeristy.

#Hack.Jozi is a competition run by the City together with Wits. The competition called for people to present digital ideas that can be used to solve problems that they have identified in healthcare, education and local government administration in the City.

Hutiri is a founder of Technovera, which will be a game changer in the public health arena. Technovera renders technology-enabled service that allows people with chronic conditions to collect their repeat medication in just a few minutes, as opposed to waiting several hours in long queues.

Hubiri shared that the business idea was born out of the daunting experience he had when he was collecting chronic medication from his local clinic. “It’s really an unpleasant experience to wait the whole day just to manage your condition. Technovera is a technology that will improve patient care by ending the indignity and exhaustion of long queues.” With this groundbreaking innovation, he explained that patients will collect their medication at self-service points.

Collecting his award, the emotional winner shared that a lot of doors were shut in his face when he tried to pitch his idea. “When I saw the competition run by the City I knew that this is where I will be heard and, indeed, that is what happened.”

The first runner-up went to duo, Abed Tau and Dylan Hyslop who walked away with R350 000 in support of the development of their ideas and to establish a sustainable business. Their application, Tuta-Me, integrates students and pupils with their tutors. The phone-based application makes it possible for students and pupils to choose a preferred tutor who meets their needs in terms of price, subject and availability.

The second runner-up is architect, Lomile Mokoka who has developed a platform that will make it possible to submit building plans to the City online. “I realised the inefficiencies of manually submitting building plans to the City and came up with eSubmit with the aim of speeding up the process with minimal costs.”

Professor Barry Dwolatzky from Wits highlighted that the winners will be guided by experienced mentors to ensure that the money helps build sustainable businesses that create jobs and produce more pockets of positive economic activity across the city.

Rendering his address, acting Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Ruby Mathang told the 10 finalists that they are all winners as they had presented exciting, innovative ideas that would make an enormous contribution, not only to the city but also the country. “Today, we are 10 ideas richer, and the programme proves that involving citizens in identifying technology to everyday solutions [works].”

Belinda Pheto
Metro Reporter

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