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News article

Mary-Ann Mandishona wins Redefine Properties’ first ever Innovation Challenge prize

Published: 10 April 2019

Soweto, South Africa – 09 April 2019: Mary-Ann Mandishona’s Cash4Trash emerged as the winner in the first ever Redefine Properties’ Innovation Challenge announced at the Challenge Convention at Maponya Mall in Soweto. Mary-Ann Mandishona won the R1 million in prize money for her efforts and an opportunity to negotiate start-up support to the value of up to R9 million in the form of either monetary support, education, commercial space or concept acquisition.

 Ms Mandishona was selected from a group of five finalists for the prize, which recognises an individual who envisions and creates an implementable social innovation project to help communities around Redefine’s properties.

Cash4Trash is an income generating recycling initiative powered by vending machines located in Redefine malls. The vending machines will be strategically located in Green Zones in the mall and the community can bring through their recyclable trash to be converted in usable coupons inside the mall.


Launched in October 2018 at the first Challenge Convention, the Innovation Challenge is a national competition developed by JSE listed diversified real estate investment trust Redefine Properties inviting the general public to submit ideas on how the company can better engage with and meet stakeholders’ expectations, integrate community and improve experiences. 

The Challenge Convention concept is a live forum-style event that brings together all stakeholders around Redefine buildings including business students, entrepreneurial-minded thinkers, community representatives, NGO’s, tenants and shoppers. The collective seeks to elevate conceptual thinking to practical implementation, delivering tangible outcomes for the benefit of the communities.

In its first year, the Innovation Challenge attracted 1250 entries from across the country. The challenge looked for innovative ideas relevant to the property industry which had the potential to revolutionise either retail, commercial or industrial space in enhancing business opportunities and customer experiences, uplifting communities and their integration in respect of any of the spaces. Individuals could choose to address any issue the community faced embracing technology.

The top fourteen finalists pitched their ideas over the past 2 days to a panel of judges which included Marc Wainer founder and executive chairman of Redefine properties, Vusi Thembekwayo, global speaker, venture capitalist and author, as well as Bridgitte Mathews an independent non-executive and deputy chairperson of Redefine Properties.

Receiving the top honours, Mary-Ann Mandishona said, “As exciting as this win is, I cherish the time spent with the mentors and deeply appreciate the guidance from Marc Wainer and Jacques Velleman who helped me to better understand the challenges we were finding solutions to.  Redefine provided all the finalists with mentors for pitching and it was really helpful as the feedback was great and criticism constructive.”

“We were able to access a lot of resources on this journey from the proof of concept-to-the- prize and I am looking forward to working with Redefine and the mentors I met through the competition to help further develop my idea.”

Redefine Properties was particularly impressed by the solutions proposed by the contestants says Andrew Konig, CEO.

“Many of the solutions aligned to the objectives we set out to meet. The Innovation Challenge has lived up to its intent of being an informed, targeted initiative to create shared value for us and our stakeholders.”

“This is our investment in entrepreneurs all over South Africa, building a unique network to unlock the informal business structures, helping create an entrepreneurial culture and providing critical support for a ‘new generation’ of future tenants, employees and suppliers. It also addresses business issues like transformation, filling the skills gap, remaining relevant and offering better experiences in our spaces,” adds Konig.

The next Innovation Challenge will be announced towards the end of 2019.

“We aim to create a movement and understanding that innovation and entrepreneurship can be manufactured in our communities all over the country with the right mentors and support. The Innovation Challenge is a celebration of this, and all the contestants and the finalists are the ambassadors of SA’s innovative spirit, my congratulations to them all,” says Konig in conclusion.

About Mary-Ann Mandishona: Mary-Ann was born in Westbury, a notorious coloured township in Johannesburg known for gang related violence. A directing graduate from the New York Film Academy (USA) who has attended several international film festival programmes, Mary-Ann is a board member of SWIFT (Sisters Working in Film and Television) and on the steering committee of the South African Film Summit. She also holds a Master’s from Goldsmiths University of London (UK).

Her credits include the award winning documentary Portrait of an African Matriarch: Joyce Mujuru”. From 2008 to 2016 she worked for CREET (Centre for Renewable Energy and Environmental Technology) as managing director with her father Dr Gibson Mandishona in initiating innovative environmental projects like the installation of biogas digestors in rural clinics, community centres and homes.
 

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