Ventureburn recently published an interesting opinion piece on South Africa start-ups that are tackling the informal sector. Savant’s Quickloc8 and Jonga were featured among others.

A valid criticism of the country’s nascent start-up scene is that the businesses that are being created are just thoroughly irrelevant to the actual needs of the country.

Entrepreneurs are often dazzled by the shiny things that come out of Silicon Valley, and want to emulate. In reality they are just appealing to a small middle class as opposed to 90% of the country’s population.

It’s a big opportunity, because the informal sector offers an ability to come up with unique and creative business models, as well work with a large, untapped potential market.

Not all start-ups have that Silicon Valley mentality. In fact, there are South African start-ups that are very much trying to solve South African problems, including bringing ecommerce and connectivity to townships, tackling fires in informal settlements, and finding ways to allow the unbanked to participate in the economy.

Here are a few start-ups that are making a big difference:

Jonga

Jonga is another start-up playing in the security space. It is a low-cost, community based alarm system for townships and other low-income communities. Their solution involves a motion sensor module and mobile application that collectively detect and notify home-owners of intrusions in their household. It prompts a user to panic which connects you to a community that can assist you.

Quickloc8

Quickloc8 is aimed at the local taxi industry, and allows taxi owners to manage their taxis better with their smartphone technology. It provides real-time tracking, GPS location, notifications when a driver’s shift starts and ends, provides information on how many trips taxis made between ranks. It will also report speeding and accidents.

Other start-ups mentioned by Ventureburn include: Pargo, Lumkani, SweepSouth, Franc, Yethu, Prospa, Ikeja, Codex, Tutame, Namola, Aura and Livestockwealth.

This is an adaptation of an article, entitled “How South African startups are solving informal sector problems [Opinion]”, on the Ventureburn website.