Here’s all you need to know about AfricArena’s tech startup challenges

Looking to win some funding, or think your startup has what it takes to collaborate with a corporate?

Tech startup conference AfricArena has called on tech startups to apply for six challenges that will culminate in a select few companies pitching to investors, corporates and members of the audience — at its summit which takes place in Cape Town on 11 and 12 November.

Earlier this month AfricArena said in a newsletter that it had devised the challenges in close collaboration with sponsors and partners to give tech startups an opportunity to showcase their business models in relation to the criteria of the respective challenge.

This year’s AfricArena Summit will take place on 11 and 12 November at Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town

Here’s all you need to know about the challenges:

SA Startup Nation Challenge

When AfricArena and the SA SME Fund launched this challenge in June, the former described it as an “exciting opportunity” for SA tech startups with distinctive products looking to scale (see this story).

The initiative will see 12 top companies pitch at AfricArena Tour events on 3 September in Cape Town at Workshop17 at the V&A Waterfront, as well as in Johannesburg on 10 September at Workshop17 in Sandton.

Thereafter, five finalists will be selected to qualify and complete at the AfricArena Summit on 11 and 12 November at Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town.

As part of the prizes and rewards, the five will meet key actors in Africa’s tech community, including investors, venture capitalists (VCs) and corporations looking to collaborate.

After the summit, the top three finalists will receive several benefits which include a trip to Paris next year for French tech summit VivaTech.

SA-registered tech startups that have yet to close a Series-A round and have a distinctive product market fit, technology and founding team to scale-up can apply for the challenge here.

Engie Africa Challenge 2019

Is your startup working on innovative and energy-efficient smart cooking solutions for the off-grid market?

French energy firm Engie wants to partner with early-stage African startups that have solutions that cater for rural and urban communities that lack affordable, safe and sustainable resources to cook food.

Startups must have a minimum viable product (MVP) to be considered for the challenge. Entries for the challenge will be made in the form of a short video as well as a pitchdeck.

Submissions for the challenge are set to close on 1 September.

Thereafter, 20 startups will be shortlisted for the challenge finals. The 20 will eventually be whittled down to three finalists who will be selected to pitch their solutions at the AfricArena grand stage.

The three challenge finalists will each be provided with return flights and accommodation in Cape Town. In addition, the finalists will also stand to benefit from a meet and greet with the “who’s who” of the African tech scene in attendance at the summit.

The winning startup will receive:

  • Viva Technology 2020 showcase
  • Dependent on the maturity of the solution, assistance from Engie with €10 000 for prototype development
  • If the winner is still in testing phase, they will be able to test the efficiency of the solution in the relevant environment within ENGIE Africa’s business framework over a period of six months. Based on the results of the testing phase, the also stand to benefit from integration within the Engie Africa business portfolio and further co-development of the project.

Hello Tomorrow Deep Tech Africa Challenge

Early-stage African deep tech startup stand to win up to €100 000 in equity-free prize money in this competition, which is part of the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge.

Other benefits participating in the challenge include global visibility and connections with key players in the global deep tech community.

Startups based on a new technology, scientific discovery or a complex engineering process can apply for the challenge.

Entry into the challenge also means applicants will participate in the Global Challenge.

Hello Tomorrow Deep Tech Africa Challenge finalists will be invited to next year’s Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris, as well as to an exclusive Investor Day which will also be held in the French capital.

In addition, the challenge winner will receive a return flight ticket to the Global Summit in Paris as well as €3000 in prize money.

Last year’s winner Nigerian drug authentication startup RxAll ended up winning the global competition grand prize of €100 000.

Sanofi Africa Challenge for Startups (Mental health)

Does you startup have an innovative solution to effectively tackle mental health disease.

If so, you’ll want to enter one of the two challenges that French multinational pharmaceutical firm Sanofi has for this year’s AfricArena summit.

For the challenge, Sanofi is looking for solutions that help patients and communities by growing education and awareness, debunking stigma and driving early diagnosis leading to proactive care.

The challenge is open to early-stage startups from around the continent with a tested prototype that addresses Sanofi’s brief. The submission deadline is on 13 September.

To apply, startups must submit a video presentation along with an eight-slide pitch deck.

After submissions close, 12 startups will be shortlisted, from which the top three will be selected to pitch at the AfricArena summit grand stage.

The three will each be provided with return flights and accommodation in Cape Town.

Sanofi SA will work with the winning startup on their brand and offering. In addition, the challenge winner stands a chance to showcase their solution at next year’s edition of VivaTech.

Sanofi Africa Challenge for Startups (Diabetes)

Does you startup have an innovative solution that can help diabetes patients to live healthier lifestyles, prove education and support to master their treatment, diet, exercise and emotional well-being?

The you’ll want to enter Sanofi’s second AfricArena challenge. Much like the mental health challenge, this one is also open to early-stage startups from around the continent.

To be considered, applicants must have tested prototype that addresses Sanofi’s brief. Entries for the challenge also close on 13 September.

After the deadline, 12 startups will be shortlisted, from which the top three will be selected to pitch at the AfricArena.

The three will each be provided with return flights and accommodation in Cape Town.

Sanofi SA will also work with the winning startup on their brand and offering. In addition, the diabetes challenge winner stands a chance to showcase their solution at next year’s edition of  VivaTech.

French Tech Challenge

The French Tech Challenge is sponsored by the French Embassy in South Africa and is aimed at startups that are registered in France that are looking to scale to Africa.

To be considered for the challenge, applicants must have a clear market fit and development strategy for the African market. In addition, they mist be operating in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics or augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR).

The challenge is open to post revenue startups and entries will close on 5 September.

After the deadline, 20 startups will be shortlisted, from which the top three will be selected to pitch their solutions at AfricArena.

Read moreAfricArena, SA SME Fund launch SA Startup Nation Challenge

Featured image: RxAll CEO Adebayo Alonge (AfricArena)

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