Get In The Ring: Jan to represent NWU Vaal in Columbia

Annette Willemse -- Fri, 01/22/2016 - 13:02

Get In The Ring: Jan to represent NWU Vaal in Columbia

At the very beginning there were hundreds of hopefuls; then the numbers were cut down to nine by means of one-on-one pitching battles; and finally there are only three left. And the latter will now battle it out in the international final of Get in the Ring (GITR), one of the biggest Olympics for business start-ups worldwide. 

The African finalists – who will now travel to Columbia in March, are: James Sands (IMORPH3D mobile app, Gauteng), Sebastian Daniels (Stockvella, Western Cape) and Jan Jooste (Newtechrail, Gauteng). These winners came out tops during the different City Finals (Western Cape, North West and Gauteng) hosted in November 2015 and also took centre stage during the South African Final and ultimately the African Final which took place early in January 2016.

Jan Jooste (left) after winning the City Final in 2015. Pictured with him is Klippies Kritzinger (Vanderbijlpark Chamber of Commerce)  

NWU Vaal and GITR

This year marks the third rendition of this popular investment challenge in South Africa and one of the main drivers of the local challenge is the bHive Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) on the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal).

According to Prof Herman van der Merwe, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology (in which the bHive EDC is hosted) it is of utmost importance that South Africa pro-actively start to develop and invest in entrepreneurial interventions. “By affiliating with fellow sponsors and partners, the Campus is stimulating innovation and facilitating a shift in the mind-set of South Africans. Through entrepreneurship we are teaching individuals to look at problems and challenges in a new way – as opportunities for innovative solutions,” explains Prof van der Merwe.

The Campus together with the REAL Entrepreneur Institute, the Dutch Embassy, The Innovation Hub and Silicon Cape presented the challenge in South Africa.

Jooste (right) with some of his supporters during the South Afrian Final

Jan Jooste making the Vaal proud

Jan Jooste impressed the judges and funders with his concept for a revolutionary rail section insulator called No Arch. This resident from Heilbron in the Free State founded his start-up business in 2015 – making his accomplishment as a top African entrepreneur even more astounding. He is the Director of Newtech Rail (PTY) LTD. He explains his concept as follows:

“Railways always need lightweight and arc free section insulators. Newtech has such a section insulator that will also work in multiple voltage regimes. I am fortunate to have been requested by Felix Slier to develop a project to meet the requirements set out by Transnet. Railways also use expensive overhead systems for increased train speed and my concept allows for a vastly cheaper and alternate solution to this challenge.”

Jooste’s current needs as an entrepreneur include investors and workspace and he is confident that he will secure both after his participation in the international competition.

Victory is sweet Jan Jooste, Director of Newtech Rail (PTY) LTD

More about GITR

Get in The Ring, one of the biggest competitions for start-ups worldwide, is a platform for businesses to compete for top honours and funding opportunities for their new business ideas. Over 10 000 start-ups worldwide participated in the 2015 rendition of the competition. Participants represent over 80 countries globally, connecting innovative entrepreneurs to funders and millions of supporters.

The competition looks for the most promising startup based on their pitch. Start-ups are judged on their team, achievements, business model and market and their financials.