Opportunity Round-Up (7 Nov 2018)

ZApreneur is back! Starting slowly with a roundup of events.
A quick roundup of opportunities for entrepreneurs in South Africa:

AFD Digital Challenge

The third edition of the AFD Challenge are seeking African tech startups that help boost women — be it in the economic, social, cultural or political sphere — to apply to the third edition of the AFD Digital ChallengeApplications close on 12 November.

Africa4Future – Aerospace

Global aerospace accelerator Airbus Bizlab has launched the #Africa4Future Challenge, with 10 aerospace startups to be selected for support from Airbus to scale their products across Africa. More details here.

NTT Data Open Innovation Challenge

NTT Data Open Innovation Challenge is “seeking proposals for innovative big businesses that lead to a new global platform to solve SDGs (17 global challenges) by synthesizing service solutions provided by NTT DATA and solutions proposed by startups. Closes soon.” Learn More Here

GEW – 22 on Sloan

Focused daily programmes:

Register to attend any or all the days.

Weekly South African Entrepreneur Opportunity Update No.21


Pitch at LendIt
Submit your application to PitchIt, a competition for fintech startups, taking place at LendIt Europe–one of the largest international lending and fintech conferences in Europe. This exclusive programme will nurture emerging talent throughout the competition, provide selected finalists with unparalleled access to industry expertise as well as invaluable exposure, branding and more at the event.
Mobile for Development Utilities Innovation Fund
The M4D Utilities Innovation Fund, supported by the UK Government and the Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development, aims to test and scale the use of mobile to improve or increase access to energy, water and sanitation services.
Mercedes Benz Innovation Challenge
Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), Stellenbosch University incubator the LaunchLab and Startup Autobahn have partnered launch the Mercedes-Benz South Africa Innovation Challenge. The challenge is asking interested students and professionals, and existing startups, to pitch their innovative ideas around a set of challenges identified by Mercedes-Benz South Africa. 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.
The Innovation Fund allows UNICEF to quickly assess, fund and grow open-source solutions that can improve children’s lives. Financial and technological support is available for companies that can show a strong founding team and a clear path to improving the lives of children.
Under 30 Impact Challenge
The Rise Fund is partnering with Forbes and Echoing Green to host the first-ever Under 30 Impact Challenge. The competition is open to creative entrepreneurs around the world, under the age of 30, who are driving positive social and environmental impact through successful for-profit enterprises. The winning business will receive up to $500,000 in value and will be awarded at the fourth annual Forbes Under 30 Summit on October 2, 2017, in Boston.
Inviting entrepreneurs and innovators to help advance the healthiest generation in human history – “GenH”. Join us to support those on the front lines of care through novel approaches and new applications of everyday ideas.
4 October 2017 – This is a deadline for registering, with a process following on.

Weekly South African Entrepreneur Opportunity Update No.20

THINK Accelerate

THINK Accelerate helps promising, early-stage technology startups grow through business coaching and mentoring. We have an international advisor network, a great co-working space and give you the opportunity to build valuable connections with potential investors.

MTN Business App of the Year Awards

The App of the Year Awards is the champion of app development in the country; celebrating local home-grown talent, the out-of-the-box thinkers that drive disruption and change. Now in its 6th year the MTN Business App of the Year Awards has entrenched itself as the premier app development competition in South Africa.
Closes: 14-Sep-17

702 and Cape Talk Small Business Awards

Nominations have opened for the 2017 702 and Cape Talk Small Business Awards with Sage, an annual search for small South African businesses that have great accomplishments as well as enormous potential for the future. The winners and runners-up in Gauteng and the Western Cape will receive prizes worth more than R1 million that will help them to develop their businesses even further.
This competition runs from 21 August to 15 September 2017

Dark and Lovely x SLA Beauty Accelerator

Dark and Lovely x SLA Beauty Accelerator is a 10-week entrepreneurship development program to support early stage entrepreneurs who are building businesses in the beauty industry.
Closes: 1-Sep-17

Injini – EdTech

Learn more about Injini in this article by founder Jamie Martin. Injini is a EdTech Accelerator and Incubator


IITPSA IT Personality of the Year & IITPSA Visionary CIO of the Year Awards Nominations 2017

Western Cape Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards 2017

The Western Cape Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards 2017 is the fifth edition of an annual competition that recognizes the achievements and potential of some of the Province’s most exciting entrepreneurs.
Closes: 1-Sep-17
2017 Bootstrapping Guide
Busy preparing our first edition of curated free and affordable services for entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Weekly Entrepreneur Opportunity Update No.19

We are back and hopefully updating ZApreneur at least once a week.

Tshimologong Entrepreneur Weekend Bootcamp

Apply for the start-up weekend happening on the 19th and the 20th of August. Please note that the weekend is FREE to Tshimologong Members & Wits students. The weekend will get everyone “incubator-ready” and give you a chance to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going. It will give you the technical foundations needed to make the next giant leap.  Free for Tshimolong members (like ZApreneur 🙂 and R 500-00 for non-Tshimologong members. To apply, fill out this form.

Future Female Platform

Future Females, a platform where women entrepreneurs can network and get support, aims to grow its user base to 20 000 female entrepreneurs in its first year. The platform is a Facebook group, which is such an awesome simple way to do this. (Via Memeburn)

Demo Africa

The application window to launch at DEMO Africa has been extended to end of August 2017, giving startups more time to refine their applications and those who were time barred can now look forward to finalizing their applications. This is awesome opportunity. Go get your demo going. Click here.

More than Flatpack Furniture – Opportunity with Ikea.

Ikea, in collaboration with Rainmaking, is inviting startups from across the world to apply for the bootcamp, which is focused on affordability, accessibility and sustainability and will see 10 selected startups spend three months in Sweden at the heart of the Ikea Range and Supply Democratic Design centre.  The winners get to Work from Ikea new co-working space in Älmhult together with the IKEA Range & Supply global innovation team and get free housing and a 20,000 EUR grant to help you develop your product and startup. Unpack your vision.

Smart Cities Innovation Challenge

Stellenbosch-based incubator Launchlab and JSE-listed investment company Attacq have teamed up again to launch the Smart Cities Innovation Challenge, with the pitching platform opening on 31 August. LaunchLab will host a workshop on 17 August in Stellenbosch to detail current focus areas for the challenge in location technologies, transportation, security, black screen technology and technology. Click here

Innovation Prize for Africa – Open for Entries

The The Innovation Prize for Africa is in its sixth year. The prize recognises Africa’s innovators (that’s you 🙂 who find market-orientated solutions.
Below find a video explaining the prize, and the press statement. And do apply!


Press Statement


The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) driver of The Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) is pleased to announce today the launch of the sixth edition of the IPA awards by calling for applications to the prestigious competition. The competition once again offers Africa’s top crop of innovators a share in a grand prize of US$150 000 and additional scalable entrepreneurial opportunities. Enterprises and individuals that have invested in delivering market-oriented solutions for African-led development are especially invited to take part in the competition.
The call for entries runs for three months starting Tuesday 27 September 2016 with a submission deadline of Tuesday 3 January 2017 at 11:59pm GMT. The IPA is looking for applications in social and economic innovation including manufacturing and service industry, health and well-being, agriculture and agri-business, environment, energy and water, and ICT showcasing ground-breaking innovations. IPA welcomes Innovations beyond the scope of these sectors.
Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, the IPA Director commented: “We are extremely pleased to officially launch the IPA 2017 edition for African innovators. We strongly believe that investing in today’s home-grown innovations will propel tomorrow’s prosperity for Africa.”
Investing in African prosperity
The theme for IPA 2017 is African innovation: Investing in prosperity. In line with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 9 which calls on countries to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, AIF believes that funding streams, investment and resources are critical to obtain a clear value chain for innovation in Africa, contributing to sustainable development.
Walter Fust, Chairman of the AIF Board states: “IPA has demonstrated that African innovation talent is abundant, but funding and resources remain a challenge.  For IPA 2017, we are expanding our outreach beyond innovators to include investors and other key movers and shakers across the innovation landscape to help address this challenge.  To meet this objective of increasing support to individual innovators, makers, training institutions, existing hubs and networks, the IPA will offer sponsorship opportunities to investors and other innovation enablers who can demonstrate their commitment to support the building of more robust African innovation ecosystems.”
Why enter IPA 2017?
IPA is a leading platform on the African innovation landscape with a network of 6000+ African innovators spanning 50 countries. Its core goal is to strengthen African innovation ecosystems through its platforms and mobilize a network of innovation enablers, driving business development and cross-collaboration.
Now in its sixth year running, IPA is open to all Africans living in Africa or the diaspora. In addition to the lucrative US$150 000 cash prize, IPA is more than a mere competition. The 10 nominees are featured at the IPA 2017 event, along with lucrative entrepreneurial opportunities such as funding, communications training, active participation in the IPA network of innovators and innovation enablers, publicity in Africa and beyond across major media channels, business opportunities, as well as collaboration with enablers and investors to shape potential innovations for viable business success.
Last year’s winners were selected from nearly 1 000 entries across 46 countries, reflecting the truly Pan-African flavour of the competition. Previous IPA editions were held in Botswana (2016), Morocco (2015), Nigeria (2014), South Africa (2013) and Ethiopia (2012). IPA was endorsed at its inaugural edition in Addis Ababa in 2012 where African ministers at the joint Africa Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) passed a resolution to support AIF to promote innovation-based societies across the continent.
IPA 2017 winners will be announced at an annual awards ceremony in July 2017 (exact dates and country to be confirmed). The Awards bring together innovative talent from multi-disciplinary sectors, as well as media practitioners, investors, innovation hubs and technology parks, government institutions and innovators.
For more details, please check out our brand new IPA website www.innovationprizeforafrica.org and apply for IPA 2017 now through clicking on https://ipa.africaninnovation.org Watch https://youtu.be/9SR8xVj1guw  for all the information you need on IPA 2017.
Sponsorship opportunities
IPA supports African innovators by unlocking their potential, promoting home-grown solutions for Africa’s prosperity. The initiative recognises, rewards and supports African ingenuity extending beyond the continent to impact the global arena.
Organizations can register their early interest in supporting African innovation by contacting AIF for more details on the IPA sponsorship opportunities available.
African Innovation Foundation (AIF) works to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalyzing the innovation spirit in Africa.
Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) is a landmark initiative of the AIF. Its goal is to strengthen African innovation ecosystems through its platforms, whilst spurring growth of innovative, market-driven solutions to African challenges.

Find us on:
The Internet: www.africaninnovation.org
Innovation Prize for Africa

The Pan African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education – Closing Soon

About the Awards

The Pan African Awards reward the very best projects which are using enterprise and entrepreneurship to innovate in the field of education. The awards are generously supported by The Saville Foundation, a charitable foundation based in South Africa. Teach A Man To Fish manage the awards using their expertise in enterprise education and highlight inspirational models and projects through their large network of educational organisations and schools.

What is Entrepreneurship in Education?

Entrepreneurial approaches to education can mean:
1. Teaching entrepreneurial and workplace skills to young people AND/OR,
2. Using alternative and innovative methods to fund education.

Do you have what it takes?

  • Is your education or training project based in Africa?
  • Does your organisation actively demonstrate the success of their entrepreneurial approach to education? See above for our meaning of ‘entrepreneurship in education’.
  • Is your education project innovative and inspiring?
  • Does your organisation have a large network of young people? 
  • Can you show that your project has had a positive impact on young people and your community?

If you answered yes to these questions your organisation could be in with a chance of winning a Pan African Award for Entrepreneurship in Education.

Benefits for winners

  • First prize of $15,000, 2nd and 3rd prizes of $5,000.
  • A sponsored trip to our international conference.
  • Enhanced visibility and publicity.
  • Enhanced sponsorship and donation opportunities. 
  • A chance to win our ‘partner prize’ to work with Teach A Man To Fish and the School Enterprise Challenge.

For More information, click here.


How to find out what funds are available to raise business finance

Research continues to show that one of the main reasons entrepreneurs fail to grow their businesses is due to their inability to obtain business funding. Yet, there are more than 350 different funds available to small businesses and many of the lenders are struggling to find businesses to fund. This disconnect between the availability of business funding and the ability of SMMEs to obtain funding is the problem that an innovative solution called finfind addresses.
Finfind is a unique, cloud-based Access to Finance portal sponsored by the Department of Small Business Development through its implementing agency SEDA. It provides a wealth of easy-to-understand information about small business finance and has a comprehensive database of active lenders that spans both government and private sector funds.
Small businesses can access this online solution 24/7 at no cost and are able to learn about the different types of finance and how they work and can be linked to a list of lenders that match their specific finance profile. Finfind has a team that continuously updates the lender database to ensure that the fund details are kept current at all times. Finfind has four main sections, this is how it works:

  1. Learn about Access to Finance  has a host of useful and easy-to-understand articles that explain how small business finance works. This is especially useful to entrepreneurs who are not familiar with financial investment terms such as equity and collateral or who aren’t sure how Term Loans or Invoice Discounting options work. Click here to learn about access to finance. 
  1.  “Find Lenders” section enables small businesses to see a list of all the lenders that can fund their businesses. Finfind has a comprehensive database of lenders (both public and private) and has mapped these to the eligibility criteria that applicants need to comply with. So this section asks the entrepreneur to register and then answer questions about the business owners, the business itself and the availability of the documents. If the SMME is finance ready (this means they have the necessary documents), then their answers are used to filter the database of funds, according to their eligibility criteria and find the ones that match their stated needs. When a user clicks on one of the loans in the list, a summary of the loan is displayed, details of the submissions and application process are available and full contact information is given. This makes it easy for small businesses to understand what finance options are available to them and what they need to do in order to apply for the money. Do you want to take out a loan? (See editors note below)
  1.  “Get Advice” section  helps link SMMEs to consultants who can assist them if they are battling to become finance ready or need help with their funding application. Finfind has partnered with SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency), SAIPA (South African Institute of Professional Accountants) and IBASA (Institute of Business Advisors South Africa) – all of whom have a comprehensive database of accredited consultants who can assist. SEDA branches provide subsidised support for small businesses, but SAIPA and IBASA consultants will charge for these services. The entrepreneur selects whether they want to use a subsidised or paying service and then selects their province and closest town. Finfind then displays the closest SEDA branch addresses and contact details or a short list of SAIPA or IBASA consultants in their area. Click here for advice. 


  1.  “Get Tools”  provides access to useful tools that can help SMMEs become finance ready. These include free online training videos to manage financial recordkeeping for startups and small businesses, as well as access to an online, easy-to-use accounting solution for entrepreneurs who don’t understand accounting. It provides quotes, invoices, payroll and complete small business money management including financial statement generation. Go to the toolbox

Finfind is easy to navigate and there is the additional benefit that SMMEs are able to repeat the finance readiness quiz and select different reasons why they need finance. This gives a new set of results and can be a useful means of identifying the most suitable business finance. For example, if a small business needs funding to commercialise technology, they will only see seven funding options.  However, if they were to select the funding option “To grow my business”, there are more than 50 funding options to choose from.
Small business funds vary considerably and it helps to understand that the reason why you need the funding, the amount, your industry sector and whether the business is profitable all impact on the number of funding options you’ll see.
Article written by
Robynne Erwin, Project Management, Finfind 
Contact Details  
Office: 086 176 3279
www.finfindeasy.co.za  |  Facebook |  Twitter
Editors Note: Small businesses should never enter into interest based loans with banks. I say this for religious reasons, but also because interest based financing makes a business less likely to succeed.  Finfind is an incredibly helpful tool, and we encourage readers to use the tool, and one of the reasons we are linking to the site is because it assists you to make informed decisions. 

Work sucks! Join an entrepreneurial network

For several years, a grouping of entrepreneurs have been  running an SME network with the City of Johannesburg – Sandton Library. One of the key persons in the network is Yusuf Mahomedy, who runs the website Work Sucks. 
He writes on his website:

From 2008 – 2014 and again this year, we are working with the City of Johannesburg – Public Libraries to assist entrepreneurs start and build their business through free SME briefings. These briefings are held in the Sandton Library, in Nelson Mandela Square.

I love the idea of using public spaces like libraries for entrepreneurial networking events.
They invite you to attend our next free event to:
* Get your career or business off the ground
* Explore business challenges & ideas
* Network with other entrepreneurs
* Market Yourself for employment or business opportunities.

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Editors Note: So, you have been warned. A part of the network is promoting your business. Is that not what a network is about.

On ZApreneur, we want to highlight useful opportunities, and especially smaller initiatives. If you have a small networking event, do let us know. If you selling tickets to an overpriced and over-hyped conference, do not contact us.
Go attend.

Calling ICT Youth Entrepreneurs

This is an important initiative that seeks to grow black companies and link them with a large company, in this case MTN. The organisers describe the opportunity as follows:

We are embarking on a transformation journey and are looking for eligible service providers with high quality and cost-effective services. Through our partnership with the Sarah Baartman District Municipality and New Generation Mindset (NGM), this Local Economic Development initiative will enrich the economy of townships and in turn increase Skills development, Job creation, Localization, Industrialization and Export opportunities.
MTN is recruiting local YOUTH-owned companies with the aim to empower and expose them to significant growth and development opportunities. Potential YOUTH-owned companies in ICT are invited to apply to become suppliers and service providers to MTN South Africa.

We have ‘Grassroots’ support programs in place to enable and develop eligible service providers and suppliers towards sustainable participation in South Africa’s digital economy, that include:

  • A 3 year business incubation program
  • Access to Funding
  • Market linkages
  • Mentorship & Coaching


Who is the potential MTN Supplier being recruited?

  • Black YOUTH-owned companies (≤ 35years )
  • Suppliers of ICT services, equipment, applications, installations, devices and peripherals
  • Registered SMME’s (small, medium and micro enterprises) companies (≥12 months in operation)
  • Emerging entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.

MTN’s broader initiative targets companies in the following focus groups:
Black-owned companies, Black Youth-owned companies, Black Women-owned companies and Black Disabled-owned companies.

Details on this opportunity are available online. Click here.