Mercedes-Benz SA launches innovation challenge with Launchlab

Mercedes-Benz South Africa in collaboration with business incubator Launchlab together with global innovation platform Startup Autobahn have announced the launch of the Mercedes-Benz South Africa Innovation Challenge.

The challenge is aimed at students, professionals and startups with innovative solutions to big data and machine learning, smart operations (digitisation of logistics and production), apps for evaluating pre-owned vehicles, sales and marketing.

Selected startups in the MBSA Innovation Challenge could get up to R600 000 in supplier development capital

The challenge is split into two streams — with one aimed at students and professionals and a second at existing startups.

Successful participants from the first stream stand to win incubation support while successful startups in the second stream could get a share of R600 000 in supplier development funding, international exposure and the possibility of becoming a supplier for Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s parent company.

LaunchLab CEO Philip Marais believes the challenge is a good opportunity for local entrepreneurs.

“This is another example of a well-known multinational seeing the value of engaging with the startup ecosystem and we are very pleased to be able to facilitate the interaction between these two groups to leverage the strengths of both for mutual benefit,” said Marais, in a press release.

How it works

Next Thursday (31 August) Launchlab together with representatives from Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Startup Autobahn will host an information seminar at Stellenbosch University where those interested in taking part in the challenge will be briefed on the context of the challenge. The event will also be live streamed on the Launchlab Facebook page.

Shortly thereafter and over a five-week period, Launchlab will begin taking video submissions on its website as well as conducting video sessions around different campuses for pitching purposes. Dates, times and locations of the video pitching sessions will be announced after the information seminar.

Those interested in the challenge will have up to 29 September to submit their pitches. In October shortlisted candidates will proceed to the second phase of the challenge where they will receive mentorship from and access to experts at Startup Autobahn, Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Daimler AG.

Thereafter, the candidates will get to pitch their ideas to Mercedes-Benz South Africa decision makers in November.

Those interested in attending the information seminar can sign up here and follow updates on the challenge on #MBSAInnovationChallenge. Learn more about the challenge, its pitching platform and where to submit pitches here.

Featured image: Supplied



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