Better Living Challenge


Catching up with Ceiling in a Can

Aug 20, 2015


This month we caught up with Dave Pons who launched his product Ceiling in a Can at the Better Living Challenge showcase last year.

Ceiling in a Can is a DIY insulating ceiling that that can be used in small houses or shacks. It’s easy to transport, costs half the price of other competitive ceilings, and also offers job creation opportunities in low-income communities.

What learning experiences from the BLC have you found particularly useful?

Our aim was for consumers to see the product and to give feedback. That is exactly what happened! Each section of the exhibition had a dedicated information guide to help the public find their way around, so once a person was interested in our product there was no stopping of the info flow! It was also great to mix with the other exhibitors and create like-minded networks. I was amazed at their innovations.

What have you and your business/project been up to since the BLC?

There was a lot of interest and feedback from BLC 2014 which developed into awards and resulted in funding. Here are some of Ceiling in a Can’s achievements since the showcase:

  • Receiving an endorsement from Mangosuthu University of Technology
  • Semi-finalist in the Global Cleantech Innovation programme 2014 which is a global programme to reduce energy consumption
  • Durban Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 award for a business with the best innovation and best commercialisation
  • Department of Science and Technology finalist and winner of the Innovation for Social Impact 2014 award
  • Finalist in the Global Social Venture programme 2014 which is a London business school programme to select the best social innovations for commercialisation
  • South African Breweries Foundation award – the top two social innovations for 2014
  • UCT Graduate School of Business /Knifecap venture capital award. We were among the top 15 innovations for start-up
  • Climate Innovation centre top five finalist 2015 for innovations that have global warming mitigation

Tell us more about your product’s impact on improving people’s living conditions

It’s difficult to measure all the life changes that Ceiling in a Can has made because poor people don’t have a voice nor do they have an audience. We are helping them by providing insulated and waterproof ceilings for shack houses. They are now cooler in summer and warmer in winter. That is enough to measure success!