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Heavy Chef calls for nominations for South Africa’s Top Five Most Exciting Startups for 2023



Do you know of an outstanding South African startup that deserves the spotlight? Now is the moment to nominate them for a place among South Africa's Top Five startups in 2023!


The Top 5 Startups Awards are your opportunity to recognize and honour the remarkable startups that are shaping the future of our nation. Whether it's groundbreaking technology, sustainable practices, or remarkable growth, we want to hear about the startups that inspire you.


Every year, the South African entrepreneur ecosystem celebrates the amazing businesses that are driving the economy forward. These awards are organised by our friends at Heavy Chef; and our MD, Keitumetse Lekaba and Founder Andile Khumalo are on this year's judging panel.


Here are more details on how to nominate and join us in celebrating the entrepreneurial excellence that's driving South Africa forward:


How Are The Startups Nominated?

Heavy Chef puts out a call for entries in September each year. Nominations are collected on this page.


When And Where Are The Winners Announced?

The Top 5 Most Exciting Startups are announced at District Six Homecoming Centre (old Fugard Theatre) in Cape Town: 6 pm 30th November 2023. Tickets are available via Heavy Chef here


How Are The Startups Evaluated?

The three main criteria are: 1) innovation, 2) scalability, and 3) must have their own IP.

Most of all, we're looking for 'exciting' startups. We're looking for startups that are changing the world in some way.


What Are The Eligibility Criteria?

These are the parameters that qualify startups for consideration:

  • Startups must have been trading for less than seven years.

  • Startups must be registered as businesses in South Africa.

  • Startups must have at least one South African founder.

Note: we're not looking at financial results. However, it helps if you've come out of the gates strong. It also helps if you've attained a strong measure of recognition, media attention and publicity. Previous winners are not eligible.


Who Are The Judges?

Each year Top 5 Startups appoints eight highly-qualified persons to evaluate the nominations.

Here are 2023's judges:

  • Andile Khumalo, KhumaloCo

  • Keitumetse Lekaba, I AM AN ENTREPRENEUR

  • Tshepo Kgapane, Wafunda

  • Hope Dithlikanyane, We Fund Women

  • Cursurn Janthies, Xero

  • Zola Thekiso, Heavy Chef

  • Zinhle Novazi, Heavy Chef (Judge Chairperson)

  • Lukhanyo Neer, Heavy Chef

When Are The Top 5 Named?

Heavy Chef hosts a gala event at the beginning of December. Book your seats here.


Previous Winners:

2017: Jumo, SweepSouth, Wala, Yoco, Zoona.

2018: Aerobotics, DataProphet, LifeCheq, LifeQ, Thursdays.

2019: 3x4 Genetics, DigsConnect, Lula, Mama Money, MyFanPark.

2020: Bathu, Carry1st, EasyEquities, MatchKit, Yebo Fresh.

2021: FCB. ai. Kusini Water. Livestock Wealth. Valenture Institute. WalkFresh.

2022: Curbon. Franc. Parket. Floatpays. Zoie.


Who Are The Organisations Behind The Awards?

The Top 5 Startups awards are proudly supported by District Six Homecoming Centre and Xero (Premium Partners), in collaboration with Heavy Chef, Xneelo and Workshop17.


When Do Entries Close?

Early Oct: Nominations open.

Mid Nov: First round of judging starts. Top 12 shortlist of startups named.

End Nov: Final round of judging begins.

30th Nov: SA's Top 5 Most Exciting Startups named at historic Homecoming Centre venue, Cape Town.


What Are Some Tips For Entries?

  • Keep your entries short.

  • Judges don't have time to read essays.

  • Get to your point of distinction quickly.

  • Entries are not judged on the number of nominations (but it does help!)


Enter your nominations for South Africa's Top 5 Most Exciting Startups 2023 here


*FAQs Information sourced from the Heavy Chef website


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