AfricArena, SA SME Fund launch SA Startup Nation Challenge

Featured image: AfricArena founder and CEO Christophe Viarnaud (AfricArena via Facebook)

Tech startup conference AfricArena yesterday announced that it has partnered with the R1.4-billion SA SME Fund to launch the SA Startup Nation Challenge.

In a statement yesterday, AfricArena described the challenge as an “exciting opportunity” for SA tech startups with distinctive products, unique technologies and ambitious founding team looking to scale up.

Startups looking to take part in the SA Startup Nation Challenge can apply here.

Prizes for the SA Startup Nation Challenge include a trip to next year’s edition of French tech conference  VivaTech

AfricArena said it will work closely with its network of partners to identify the country’s “most promising” entrepreneurs.

The initiative will see 12 top companies pitch at AfricArena Tour events which will be held on 3 September in Cape Town at Workshop17 at the V&A Waterfront, as well as in Johannesburg on 10 September at Workshop17 in Sandton.

Thereafter, five finalists will be selected to qualify and complete at the AfricArena Summit which will take place on 11 and 12 November at Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town.

At the summit, the top three SA Startup Nation Challenge companies will walk away with several prizes which include a trip to Paris in May next year for French tech conference VivaTech where the winners will get an opportunity to showcase their offerings.

AfricArena founder and CEO Christophe Viarnaud (pictured above) said the organisation “could not be more excited” to work with the SA SME Fund to enable capital and market access for South African entrepreneurs, particularly black entrepreneurs who he said are astill under-represented in the digital sector.

“Our partnership with South Africa’s leading fund that supports tech startups — combined with our ability to provide access to international investors, corporates and events — will enable us to accelerate the success of South African entrepreneurs on the global stage,” added Viarnaud.

He also pointed out that as there will be over 150 investors at AfricArena, it is highly likely that the finalists and winners of the competition will be identified as “significant opportunities” by some of those investors.

SA SME Fund CEO Ketso Gordhan, commenting in the same statement, said the fund is “looking forward” to using AfricArena’s platform to support its mission to “power up” the venture economy and identify tech ventures with the potential to scale-up into high-growth businesses.

Featured image: AfricArena founder and CEO Christophe Viarnaud (AfricArena via Facebook)



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