Ryshan Ramlall & Udhav Maharaj

Sturtium Informatics System

January 2020

Commercialisation

Pietermaritzburg

Sturtium (Pty) Ltd
Who does this innovation help?

Sturtium Informatics System is targeted at the general public, research groups, NGOs and private companies who are involved with water, environmental management, infrastructure management and service delivery issues.

About the Innovator

Ryshan is a master's student at the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) and a water resources and environmental consultant. He has a Bachelor of Science Honours degree specialising environmental science, earth science and hydrology. He has a keen interest in the applications of new and emerging technologies which aim to improve the relationship between humans and nature and promote sustainable development. One of the applications he is working on is a tool called Sustainatag, which maps out and provides insights, analytics and development support to start-ups and emerging enterprises focused on providing solutions to issues in local and global sustainability.Udhav is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in engineering at UKZN. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural engineering. His interests are in applications of engineering to solve environmental and agricultural challenges.

How the Innovation Works

The Sturtium Informatics System allows users to submit short reports and information on water resources, waste, environmental and infrastructure management problems which they encounter in their cities or municipalities. The data from the reports can be used by service providers, public institutions, research groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for problem solving, planning and management as well as being used as a mechanism to hold respective entities accountable for service delivery.

Innovation picture

An interview with the Innovator

Q1

What problem/s are you trying to address with your innovation?

Sturtium Informatics System aims to address service delivery issues and data availability to this regard by harnessing the technological capability of the South African population that carries around smartphones to improve awareness of infrastructure, water, waste, environmental and service delivery issues that affect the wellbeing of natural ecosystems and society. Additionally, the innovation aims to increase public participation in natural resource management and social upliftment, and to provide useful data for problem solving, research and development.

Q2

What has been the toughest challenge/s to overcome in your innovation journey?

Garnering support, both financial and mentorship, from relevant stakeholders has been a challenge. The Sturtium Informatics Systems distinctly requires municipal backing to succeed since municipalities are responsible for service delivery. It has been difficult to get in touch with municipalities and public groups to support the app and integrate it into municipal management, because municipalities generally only work with tenders which are very specific and generally only established larger companies are eligible for them.

Q3

Where do you see yourself and your innovation in 5 years’ time?

We would like to see our startups grow and generate enough revenue to support ourselves and create a few jobs. We would also like our platforms to gain many users and fulfil the purposes that they were created for.

Q4

What has been the biggest lesson so far?

It is important not to work on too many ideas or tasks at a time. While it might seem like you are saving time by multitasking, it actually stifles productivity. It is better to focus one on task or one aspect of a big task per week.

Advice from the Innovator

Take it easy on yourself and stop comparing your progress to others. You need to take breaks in life and remember to find ways to focus on small victories and past achievements whenever you feel overwhelmed or inadequate.

About the Supporting Organisations Involved and Approach to Galvanising Support

We cold emailed potential development agencies. We connected with individuals who work in the sectors we are targeting through cold emailing, cold calling and on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. We needed financial support for the initial development, and exposure and networking support most of all.