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Showcasing innovative ideas

Nov 03 2013 13:25
A GROUP of young entrepreneurs who decided to start a business which aims to realise ideas that make a difference recently showcased their own concept to save the rhino to an international audience in Montreal, Canada.

Gola Motswane, co-founder member of ideas bank boxworM, told Fin24 that when he and colleagues Mbekezeli Khumalo and Shawn Lukas decided to enter the EYE50 global search for innovators of tomorrow, they never thought that a global audience would be concerned about a problem that affects mainly South Africa.

They entered their solution to South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa's rhino horn poaching problem.

boxworM's idea Trees + Rhinos was shortlisted to the Top 20 most innovative ideas in the world. They landed a chance to showcase it in Canada at the annual C2-MTL creative and commerce conference in May this year.

Fin24 spoke to Gola about the three-man show.

When and how did you get started?

boxworM started out when we realised that we wanted all the ideas we had to become more visual, so that it would be easier for potential stakeholders to grasp.

The breakthrough moment was when we realised that there are many individuals like ourselves and organisations that have the same need: the need to make their ideas seem more tangible. And that’s been our goal ever since, to create inspiring visual presentations for people to communicate their lif- changing ideas.

boxworM is currently functional, we’ve produced work to showcase for potential clients and continue the hunt to help the next big idea become a reality.

We established our company in July 2012.

Tell us more about boxworM and how you operate.

boxworM is run jointly by myself, responsible for ideation and innovation, Mbekezeli Khumalo, the team leader and strategist, and Shawn Lukas who looks after design, audio and visual architecture.

boxworM is an innovation house that creates visual presentations for people with great and life-changing ideas. These visual presentations are intended to easily convey their ideas to their audience, as well as aid them in showing their ideas to possible investors.

We currently have only our own ideas to showcase on our website, but we are keen on collaborating with other people.

Can you tell us a bit more about the ups and downs you encountered in setting up the business?

Just like any startup, challenges are rife, but that is what makes the whole experience exciting and fun.

Our major challenge is that people are often overprotective of their ideas and assume that getting them out there will give other people the opportunity to steal them.

That’s why we set the example by starting out with our own ideas such as the Trees + Rhino idea, which has received phenomenal recognition.

Who are your partners?

We’ve been working with JoziHub and receiving invaluable advice from them. JoziHub provides a vital platform for creating networks, some of which we are currently in talks with, and a few other interested public figures and organisations whose names we cannot disclose at the moment.

How do see your company's growth going forward?

boxworM is currently run by its three founders and we are keen on hiring creative outliers when the time is right. We believe wholly in collaboration, and take pleasure in doing things the unconventional way.

Tell us more about rhino horn poaching from your perspective.

We don’t get involved in new projects unless we truly believe and know that it will have a positive impact on someone’s life. Coming up with a solution to the rhino poaching situation was no different.

We didn’t know how dire the situation was until we did more research after the problem came our attention. The more research we did, the more we realised the countless number of people who care and just how many people are affected by this problem.

We had to do something and the more involved we got, the greater our attachment to the project became.

Rhinos are South Africa's pride and Trees + Rhinos might be our initiative, but it belongs to South Africa.

What do you consider the highlights of the C2-MTL conference?

Just being there was a coup for boxworM. Once there, we had a chance to rub shoulders with billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

He told us that what a business is, is making a positive difference to other people’s lives. He advised us to turn our business into a force and to do it in a creative way, otherwise we’re going to fall flat on our face.

The week-long trip included the three-day C2-MTL conference, where investors and creative minds could mingle with the objective to strike deals.

We got the chance of a lifetime to talk with people from various business backgrounds, and left with more than a handful of business cards.

The official C2-MTL figures show that there were 1 250 delegates of whom 85% were CEOs, top executives and senior managers. Delegates came from 34 countries and represented more than 30 industries.

The various workshops and talks from key speakers were invaluable for applying in our future projects. And the cherry on top: the audience was awestruck at the Trees + Rhinos solution we presented.

We left with a sense of pride to have been able to represent South Africa on a global stage.

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- Fin24

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