#TFAAspotlight: Ashley Uys, your techie model on any day

At 22, Ashley Uys started his first business and has since garnered many accolades for his entrepreneurial prowess.

In 2008 – aged just 24 – he won the South African Breweries (SAB) Kick Start National Business of the Year Award. In 2010, he was named the Western Cape Business Opportunity Forum (WECBOF) Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He made Forbes Magazine’s ‘30 Under 30: Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs’ list in 2012.

What else do we know?

  1. One of Ashley’s main goals is to produce affordable biotechnological products that solve problems that are specific to the needs of ordinary South Africans.
  2. He has been featured in the “21 Icons of South Africa” campaign for the development of his affordable and life-saving Malaria test kits.
  3. He was selected as the Endeavour SA Entrepreneur for 2013 and was listed among Forbes ‘Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs in 2014.
  4. Ashley was nominated in 2014 for The Future Awards Africa, Tony O. Elumelu Prize in Business for Medical Diagnostech and OculusID. Medical Diagnostech (Pty) Ltd (2010) develops and manufactures high quality lateral flow rapid diagnostic test kits in an ISO13485 facility in South Africa. OculusID (2013) is a South African based company that specialises in the development of biometric solutions with impairment detection through the application of non-invasive, hygienic and cost-effective innovations by promoting a safe environment.
  5. Medical Diagnostech is a leader in the South African medical field and produces more than 20 million affordable test kits a year for HIV, pregnancy, Malaria and drugs. His innovative malaria test kit takes less than 30 minutes to detect the disease, which means faster treatment.
  6. Aside contributing to scientific innovation and healthcare, Uys’ companies have also jobs in Cape Town. Rather than automate production of his high-tech products, Uys chose to incorporate unskilled manual labour in his production process, in order to create employment opportunities.
  7. It was his studies in biotechnology that first alerted him to the opportunities to develop his own products. Oh yes, he completed his BSc in 2002 and a year later, his BSc (Honours) in biotechnology.
  8. His latest company called, Au Seal, is a hair treatment company. The product that he is producing is a ‘first of its kind’ natural gold-plated permanent hair treatment.
  9. This year, Ashley developed a prototype for a rapid antibody test for COVID-19 that accurately detects all positives. He adds that his company, Medical Diagnostech, has the capacity to manufacture up to 80,000 antibody test kits a day. And this one:
  10. Ashley’s former business partner, Andrew Smith, a businessman based in the United Kingdom, approached him with an interest in the type of work and research Uys was doing and a suggestion of starting a joint venture. Smith knew of a German company that had been struggling for nearly two years to find a test developed for long-term alcohol consumption. The joint venture would develop a test that can detect alcohol consumption in urine. Uys flew to Germany and within three days he had developed a prototype and it worked. It was a world first. Read more.

Ashley Uys is the future!


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