LaunchLab kick-starts innovation pitching platform

Participants can enter their ideas by doing an informal three-minute video pitch.

Participants can enter their ideas by doing an informal three-minute video pitch.

The LaunchLab breakthrough Innovation Pitching Platform has kick-started on participating campuses around the country.

These include Stellenbosch University, University of Western Cape, University of Cape Town, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Johannesburg, Wits University, Central University of Technology and University of Pretoria.

The contest is open to all aspiring entrepreneurs from student and non-student communities and from concept to an existing business, running until 29 September.

It is a platform that provides an opportunity for aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas in the different innovation challenges and stand a chance to win their share of seed funding for direct business needs and LaunchLab incubation support to the value of R150 000.

Participants can enter their business ideas by doing an informal three-minute video pitch with no digital presentations – recorded at the various campuses mentioned above or can be submitted online at the links provided under each challenge.

Entrants may pitch more than one idea, but only one idea can win. Each of the brand representatives, experienced entrepreneurs, academics and representatives from the local investor community have been selected as judges and will determine the winning ideas at the final events.

Below are the challenges for the Innovation Pitching Platform:

Smart cities challenge

Stellenbosch-based incubator LaunchLab and JSE-listed investment company Attacq have teamed up again to launch the Smart Cities Innovation Challenge.

LaunchLab says the world of retail is changing, and Attacq has decided to take it up another level, by bringing technologies into Attacq's properties, including Waterfall City, to make it the premier location in Gauteng to live, work and play.

"We are looking for entrepreneurs with solutions that address opportunities in location technologies, transportation, security, ‘black screen' technology, loyalty, as well as technology to improve experiences in spaces where people live, work and play," says Attacq.

Click here for more information about this challenge.

Safety ideas

The Santam Safety Campaign encourages South Africans from all walks of life to put forward innovative ideas and concepts that have the potential to help keep South Africans safe.

The campaign, which was launched in July last year, has generated more than 150 entries from across SA. The top finalists selected in the inaugural phase were all worthy contenders for the title and an incubation prize valued at R150 000, says Santam.

The opportunity to participate in an incubation process saw their concepts or ideas being developed into working prototypes – and possible, viable business ventures.

"If you have a workable concept or idea that relates to home, vehicle or business safety that can help keep South Africa safe, you can enter," Santam adds.

It urges aspiring entrepreneurs to submit a short video entry online before 29 September, explaining their idea. Register online to attend a workshop in the dates and times available to further understand the requirements before submitting your entry, it notes.

Between 15 and 20 finalists will be chosen based on originality, market attractiveness, how long it will take to get the product to market, and applicability. A panel of experts will select the 10 best concepts, which will receive seed funding to cover mentorship and incubation at the LaunchLab.

Prototypes and high-level business plans will be developed for the 10 best concepts in an intensive, 14-week LaunchLab Knowledge Acceleration Programme.

After a four- to six-month Countdown Programme, in which extensive mentoring and coaching will take place, the top final business plans will be presented to a panel of Santam and Sanlam investors.

Car innovations

The Mercedes-Benz SA Innovation Challenge will target two streams. It will ask interested students and professionals (as a first stream) and existing start-ups (as a second stream) to pitch their innovative ideas around a set of challenges, tailor-made to advanced manufacturing and benchmark sales and marketing topics, as identified by Mercedes-Benz SA.

The challenge spans various topics – ranging from big data and machine learning for manufacturing, the digitisation of logistics and production, app-based solutions for the evaluation of the condition of pre-owned vehicles, and chatbot solutions for manufacturing learning.

A shortlist of candidates/teams in both streams will then be notified and enter the second phase of the process where the ideas will be polished and benefit from access to Mercedes-Benz SA, Daimler AG and Start-up Autobahn expert role-players.

All interested parties can register for their pitching slot here.

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