World

The best new ideas out of South Africa

Updated 0921 GMT (1721 HKT) May 1, 2017
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We take a look at some of South Africa's most innovative start ups. These urban electric cabs -- Mellowcabs -- have an estimated daily range of 110 kilometers (68 miles) and are semi-powered by a solar panel on the roof. courtesy of Neil du Preez/Mellowcabs
These machines exchange coins and notes of currencies from around the world, saving globetrotters time and money. South African duo Jeff Paterson and Oliver du Toit's idea for Fourex took off in 2015 when it won Richard Branson's entrepreneurship competition Pitch to Rich. CNN
BeSpecular is an app that allows the visually impaired to submit requests such as asking which sugar jar to pick. The volunteer at the other end of the line replies using a text or audio message, which is read out to the blind person. BeSpecular
This is the world's first networked heat-detector designed specifically for a township environment. "Lumkani" means "be careful" in isiXhosa, the language of South Africa's second largest ethnic group. The idea came after a huge fire tore through one of South Africa's largest townships. Courtesy Lumkani
Lize Hartley created Plasta, a company that makes plasters of different shades to match the skin colors of South Africa's diverse population.
South African start-up Drone Scan aims to make warehouse workers' lives easier. Its device, which can be attached to drones, scans bar codes of products on any level. Courtesy Drone Scan
Mobile transaction company wiGroup has allowed South Africans to buy coffee with their mobile phones since 2008, way before Apple Pay even existed.
This is one of the world's most Instagrammed coffees. In the first six months after launching at The Grind in Johannesburg in January 2016, nearly 1 million images with the hashtag #coffeeinacone were liked on the picture-sharing social media site. Alon Skuy
Zaid Osman launched The Sneaker Exchange, a popular event in Cape Town, where people buy and sell their own footwear in 2013. "Sneakers know no color, race or creed -- all individuals from different walks of life can come together for their mutual love of sneakers," he told CNN. Courtesy Ference Isaacs
The successful South African mobile app Pocketslip makes paper slips redundant. It sends digital till slips directly to your phone, so you can keep track of your purchases and find the receipts you need when you want to return those uncomfortable shoes.
South Africa's Etsy, Hello Pretty, is an e-commerce platform selling handmade local crafts and designs. One of their most popular products is from Bamboo Watch Revolutions, one of the first companies to develop a watch face made from bamboo. Hello Pretty
South African entrepreneur Jeffrey Mulaudzi started a business encouraging tourists to discover the country on two wheels. It was in 2010, when South Africa hosted the World Cup and tourism arrivals jumped, that Mulaudzi saw his opportunity. Through his business, Mulaudzi hopes to connect tourists with the local community. Courtesy: Jeffrey Mulaudzi
The ethically conscious crowd-funding platform Thundafund, launched in 2013, has seen unprecedented success. One of the businesses that kicked off after their campaign on Thundafund is Honest Chocolate, whose co-founders used the 70,000 ZAR ($6,000) they raised to turn their industrial raw chocolate business into a boutique café and shop. courtesy of Honest Chocolate
One entrepreneurial couple in Durban, South Africa set up Cappeny Estates, a surprisingly booming strawberry farm despite the hot and humid weather of the region. After being rejected by several banks, the couple eventually secured a loan of $ 1.5 million, which allowed the business to kick off. Oli Scarff/Getty Images