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Lumkani wins inaugural Chivas Regal Venture campaign

11 Mar 2015 - 15:30

The Lumkani Fire Detectors, motivated by extensive fires in Cape Town townships on New Year’s Day in 2013, which displaced over 5000 people, is the winner of the inaugural 'Win The Right Way' campaign by whisky brand Chivas Regal, and are on their way to represent SA in Silicon Valley.

Lumkani will receive $50 000 in funding and will participate in a mentorship programme in Silicon Valley, California along with twenty other social entrepreneurs from around the world. Participants will receive global exposure for their company or idea, as well as an opportunity to pitch for a portion of $1 million in funding.

The competition accepted applications nationwide. The five finalists that were chosen all provided various innovative solutions from green energy and small business funding, to fire-detection for informal settlements.

Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Wits Business School, Chimene Chetty expressed that more young people need to start viewing social entrepreneurship as a feasible option. “We need to tell young people that you can do it. If there is a problem in your community, if you have a problem, you don't have to look somewhere else, you look within yourself, you come up with an idea, you speak to people and find out how it's done", she said. Chetty further expressed that “It’s interesting that the idea came from someone who shack fires would probably never have been an issue for. But because of an entrepreneurial lens, because of a perspective of understanding and seeing problems differently, he was able to identify an opportunity and go into a space I think is not common.”

The Lumkani device uses heat detection technology instead of smoke detection to sense for fires. Each device is networked to surrounding devices within a 100m radius. In the event of a fire, the detecting device will send a signal to surrounding devices within this range. A wave of sound creates a community-wide alert and response to danger. This buys time for the community to become proactive in rapidly spreading fire risk situations.