France bound: Five SA startups selected for the 2017 Young Enterprise Initiative

Five South African tech startups have been selected to travel to France for the week-long Young Enterprise Initiative acceleration programme which takes place this November.

Romain Petit, innovation manager at the French Embassy in South Africa, told Ventureburn that the five will leave for France in the week of 13 November. During this time they will spend two and a half days in Paris attending training and business to business-to-business (B2B) meetings. Thereafter, they will be assigned a partner incubator which will assist them on finding the right partners for research and development.

Read more: Is seven days enough time for startups to be on YEI’s accelerator programme?

“The acceleration programme aims to help startups get to know the French ecosystem and identify tech partners. It is not so much about market development, but rather for startups that need testing (research and development) and industrial partners,” said Petit.

Read more: TIA-backed startups have two weeks left to apply for Young Enterprise Initiative

A selection committee comprising of representatives from the French embassy, South Africa’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), consulting companies and investment companies helped selected the five finalists.

Petit said the selection criteria focused on the relevance of the product in France and the EU, each applicant’s level of achievement in terms of their technological capability and market readiness and the ability of the teams to perform on an international platform.

The South African startups will join 25 other companies from the US, Taiwan and Italy, giving them an opportunity to interact and partner with other startups.

“The five finalists stood out because they were at a stage where they were quite mature with regards to proof of concept and market readiness,” pointed out Petit. “Their technology is also at a world-class level and they are trying to address global issues which is really interesting. They also portrayed a real need for research and development partnerships,” he added.

The Young Enterprise Initiative finalists are developing solutions to global problems through high-calibre tech

The five startups will also receive further support from the French Embassy after the conclusion of the programme.

Petit said that he will follow the startup’s engagements with their French partners and identify ways to assist them with trade missions, investment in France as well as  help them identify funding opportunities.

Here are the five finalists:

Cape Ray Medical: The Cape Town-based company developing breast imaging technology used to detect breast cancer.

Altis Biologics: Specialists in research and development of bio-materials used in skeletal regeneration.

Cocos Solutions: A Cape Town-based developer of an anti-icing and anti-pollution nano-coating material that can be used in the energy industry

Mellow Cabs: This startup manufactures electric micro cabs that are used for on-demand public transport, cargo delivery and advertising in urban areas.

Kebalepile TS: The company has developed a hand-held asthma predictive kit that alerts users of possible asthma attacks.

Daniel Mpala


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