We all know that drones are already in practise in South Africa from a recreational aspect.
We also know that drones are being well utilised in the security space:
- from guarding wildlife;
- to guarding mines;
- to guarding perimeters of estates.
And drones are making waves and will continue to make a big difference going forward in the
- Agri space and of course we all know about the advances in delivering of services in
- health services
- e-commerce and
But did you know how main stream drones have become in South Africa?
I had the pleasure this last week of being a judge on a panel for South Africa’s first drone accelerator led by Victor Radebe and supported by SEDA.
Drone Startups featured
There were 13 companies in the incubation programme, and these cover fields such as security, photography/videography, agriculture etc. They are
- African Drone Kings,
- Ziyakhipa Projects,
- Rine Holdings,
- Mgwambani Security,
- Pragmatic Master,
- Shibus Construction,
- QP Drones,
- Nafasi, ,
- Fade Comms and Video Services
- Kasie Labs.
It was really interesting seeing where the startups see the opportunities and like many accelerators, there was no “one size fits all”, so the startups came in varying degrees of preparation: one was in ideation/planning phase 5 years in, a couple startups had seen opportunities within their own existing businesses or industries, and some were seeing a way to cash in on the new industry – well, new to South Africa, all least.
Drone technology in our lives
I think what struck me most is that it’s accepted that drone technology is part of our “now” and will make a far greater contribution into our future, every-day life.
Together with the newly established Tech4Good Lab within the School of IT at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and a few other proposed initiatives, it is an exciting space to be in and watch. Silicone Cape is proactive in this space
But going back to the accelerator, it was really great to see a lot of women interested in this space and working in this space.
Special mention here to Thandi Motsawalo from Shibus Construction.
Women in DroneTechnology
Women really need to stand and hold space in areas where we don’t normally see women. Just as its important to see a person of colour represented in movies, industries or areas previously not seen, the presence of women in the drone industry opens our thinking and perceived accessibility.
So to the women in this drone space, well done!
The last point that came to me was that while it is so exciting to be a part of unique technologies and challenges, the science behind a business is the same forever: you need core business models and practises to have sustainability and growth.
Well done again to all of these startups! And to Victor Radebe, founder of Mzansi Aerospace Technologies and Drone Accelerator Programme.