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Five SA startups will next Thursday (28 November) pitch for a share of R5-million in seed funding at the finals of the Social Tech Startup Challenge.
The challenge is an initiative of the The Diageo Empowerment Trust. Through it, the non-profit aims to assist tech-enabled startups to solve some of South Africa’s biggest social challenges by providing the connections, best practices and capital required to scale in market.
The startups that will pitch at the event, which will be held at the Diageo SA head office in Johannesburg, are: bursary and scholarship platform Foonda, home security startup Jonga, on-demand sales force and market research firm iSpani, SkillShift and youth-focused sport talent platfrom BallTalent.
Pre-registrations for the 2020 Social Tech Startup Challenge are now open
The five will pitch in front of an invitation-only audience and a panel of judges that will include Diageo SA Empowerment Trust general manager Sinethemba Mafanya (pictured above) and Urbian managing partner Anton Moulder.
Mafanya explained in a statement earlier this month that the judging panel will at their discretion decide how much of the R5-million prize pool each of the startups will receive.
He added that the prize money will be awarded as seed funding and distributed in tranches as the businesses grow.
The five startups were selected from among 2256 applicants.
Applicants were further evaluated and tested for viability, scalability and sustainability, culminating in 30 of the most promising social innovations being invited for a three-day user testing workshop in April.
At the workshop, the 30 were given guidance on how to better define their business problems and apply design thinking to solve them. Thereafter, the Social Tech Startup Challenge selection committee further whittled the field to the top 15 applicants.
The 15 worked closely with digital product studio Urbian to develop working prototypes of their digital solutions.
In addition, the 15 also attended a Gordon Institute of Business Science entrepreneurship programme in Johannesburg, receiving startup-specific business training.
Pre-registrations for the 2020 Social Tech Startup Challenge are now open and those looking to register can do so here.
Featured image: Social Tech Startup Challenge General Manager Sinethemba Mafanya (Supplied)