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South African early-stage startups looking to validate their concepts or improve their technology offering are in luck. Stellenbosch University business incubator Launchlab today launched the second season of the 2018 LaunchLab Ideas Programme.
The programme will be run together with partners Nedbank, Mercedes-Benz SA, WineTech and Santam and entries are set to close on 28 September.
In a phone call today (22 August), Launchlab marketing assistant Helen Fortuin told Ventureburn that the second season of the programme will include new categories based on Nedbank, Mercedes-Benz SA, WineTech and Santam’s focus areas.
The second season of the Launchlab Ideas Programme will be the first time in seven years that the initiative will feature a category on agricultural innovation
Fortuin added that this will be the first time that the seven-year-old programme will include a focus on innovation in the agriculture sector.
In all, the second season of the LaunchLab Ideas Programme will cover 11 focus areas. These are: artificial intelligence, smart cities, insurtech, the Internet of Things, blockchain, fintech, advanced manufacturing, cleantech, edtech, agritech and food, as well as social and environmental startups.
Commenting in a statement, Launchlab CEO Philip Marais said the wide range of industry focus means that applicants will “find a place” for their innovative business ideas.
“This is a great opportunity to accelerate that business idea towards market readiness. The impact that engaging with our corporate clients offers cannot be underestimated.
“We find that startups that engage with our clients can accelerate their growth faster than startups following the traditional route to market because the client does not only help provide finance for the startup but access to market as well,” said Marais.
As part of the programme, Launchlab will hold information sessions at various partner campuses around the country to provide further context and engagement around the initiative.
The first information session will take place tomorrow from 11am till 2pm at the University of Pretoria, while the next will take place next week Tuesday (28 August) at the LaunchLab offices.
More information on submission requirements can be accessed here.
Featured image: Attendees pictured at a LaunchLab Makerspace event on 30 July (The LaunchLab via Twitter)