Seven Southern African innovators to pitch for €20 000 HiiL Justice Accelerator

Seven innovators from South Africa and Zimbabwe have been selected to take part in the regional semi-finals of The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) annual Innovating Justice Challenge set to take place at OPEN Maboneng in Johannesburg on 13 October.

The seven, whose names were announced last Friday by HiiL, will get an opportunity to present their ideas to a panel made up of representatives from HiiL’s Boostcamp, legal and innovation experts. They were chosen from 80 applicants from Southern African region. In total 10 regions are taking part in the challenge.

The seven include South African startups Lady Liberty, NuvaLaw, Comic Contracts and MoLLy and Zimbabwean startups Road Rules, Transparency International Zimbabwe, together with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association. Their solutions range from an online dispute resolution systems to chatbot interfaces for legal information.

The winner of the HiiL Innovating Justice Challenge regional semi-final will take home €5000

HiiL’s Innovating Justice agent for Southern Africa, Adam Oxford said the winner of each region will be awarded €5000 and a chance to compete at the global final which takes place at The Hague in December.

The 10 finalists will also get a zero-equity grant of up to €20 000 and entry into a six-month business development programme at the Hiil Justice Accelerator, which is aimed at assisting startups and innovators with innovative solutions to justice and legal problems.

At last year’s challenge eight of the 10 finalists were from Africa, two of which were from Southern Africa.

In a press release HiiL said a total of 601 applications from 65 different countries for the 10 regions were submitted for the 2017 Innovating Justice Challenge.

Oxford told Ventureburn that in the past 18 months that HiiL has been operating in Southern Africa there has been a growth in interest in the accelerator. “We are trying to build momentum behind the idea of innovation in law,” he added.

Innovation justice workshop

He said the accelerator is working on a long-term plan to help startups in Southern Africa in the legal tech space. The accelerator will host a workshop (in the form of a “justice boostcamp”) at OPEN Maboneng on the day before the regional semi-finals.

The workshop will also feature panel discussions and interactive working sessions that will bring entrepreneurs, investors, civil society, academics and justice professionals together.

In addition, the workshop will provide participants with a platform to discuss issues such as crime and law enforcement, migration and human trafficking, land and property rights, family justice and employment justice. HiiL will also present findings from its own research based on large scale international studies carried out over 12 years.

Oxford said following the workshop in October the plan is for the accelerator to hold regular monthly events.

Sine its launch in 2005, the accelerator has assisted entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world with 350 innovations.

Those interested in attending the Innovation Justice Boostcamp can register here.

Featured image: Speakers at HiiL Johannesburg Boostcamp 2016 (Supplied)

Daniel Mpala


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