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Home > The Digital Foundations of Innovation

The Digital Foundations of Innovation

8 December, 2021
Why innovation and opportunity go hand-in-hand for South African entrepreneurs building a digitally empowered future


Innovation is a cliché for a reason – it works. It’s the lifeblood of the South African entrepreneur, working with little to achieve a lot. For Response24, the winner of the small and medium enterprise (SME) BCX Digital Innovation Awards, innovation, and the ability to adapt to change, fast, are critical qualities for any business looking to build solid foundations and expand into new markets.

“In our environment, innovation is essential,” explains Marlize Holtzhausen, Founder and CEO of Response24. “Being recognised as an innovative platform that fundamentally impacts service delivery is massive for us as it affirms that we are on the right track, that we are going where we need to go with our business and our digital thinking.”

Response24 started out after a brutal attack on the Holtzhausen family in 2013/2014 and the need to give people a voice when they can’t talk for themselves. The solution was designed to provide instant help with accurate information for first responders, providing the operators with location, name and type of emergency. It adds the essential ingredient of speed that can save lives. Designed as a communication platform that connects multiple service providers to instantly mobilise a coordinated response, Response24 offers armed response and medical emergency services at the tap of a button.

“We have evolved into a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that can connect fragmented environments to enhance response times,” says Holtzhausen. “It activates specific on demand resources and helps response centres overcome legacy issues within their systems. Most use multiple systems that don’t talk to each other and require that an operator navigate through them all to enable the response.”

Response24 simply integrates and connects the fragments, creating a single view dashboard from which the operator can see available resources in real time. The company started out by working with first responder services and is now moving into other on-demand services where it can focus on last mile service delivery. Because the majority of companies deal with third-party service providers, whether insurance or medical, there is a need for a platform that provides line of sight into information. A gap in the market that Response24 ambitiously aims to fill, and is already filling in South Africa and abroad.

“Our platform is designed to save cost and risk for companies so they can manage any form of service delivery in real time,” says Holtzhausen. “We have already captured more than 50% of the South African market in the security and response services sector and we are attracting interest from countries like Singapore who want to use the platform for facilities management. Now we are at the stage of growth where we are funding to scale internationally and actively engaging with investors to manage this.”

The fast-growing company entered the BCX Digital Innovation Awards because the opportunity to partner with BCX was incredibly important to the team. For Response24, this was the right avenue to take to open doors and get in front of customers faster.

“We wanted to go up against the best of the best, to really face up to the tough competition that these Awards attract and to use the opportunity to learn from others,” concludes Holtzhausen. “We use it to benchmark ourselves, get honest feedback from people who are not traditionally in our sector, and grow our capabilities. This is the standard of innovation, and an opportunity to build partnerships that will take us even further. And, of course, we wanted the opportunity to collaborate with BCX and to partner with them going forward.”



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