South African start-ups can now apply to receive up to €10 000 (about R200 000) in funding in a local edition of the Irish Tech Challenge. This is presented by the embassy of Ireland in the country in partnership with Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, the department of science and innovation, the Technology Innovation Agency, and Dogpatch Labs Ireland.
This challenge is designed to identify and empower growth-stage tech start-ups led by South African entrepreneurs whose missions align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It places a particular focus on supporting young, black, women-owned businesses from every corner of the country.
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While the challenge welcomes applicants from all sectors, it places a premium on start-ups operating in sectors closely linked to the SDGs and their relevance in the South African context, including clean and green tech, circular economies, medtech, healthtech and biotech, edtech, and so-called WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) start-ups. Eligible companies must either have a revenue stream or possess developed intellectual property.
The standout feature of the Irish Tech Challenge 2023 is as follows:
- Up to €10 000 each in funding.
- A fully funded trip to Ireland to network with top business leaders.
- Access to the Irish tech ecosystem with potential further funding opportunities.
- Acceleration support to refine global scaling strategies in partnership with Dogpatch Labs.
Paul Deane, trade counsellor at the embassy of Ireland in South Africa, emphasised its global tech prominence and its role as the world’s second-largest exporter of computer and IT services.
He underscored the opportunity for start-ups to tap into this expertise and grow their businesses exponentially. Additionally, by tapping into South Africa’s local tech ecosystem, these entrepreneurs can effectively scale tech solutions aligned with and contributing to government’s development agenda.
Deane anticipates that the programme will not only empower start-ups but also foster stronger ties between South Africa and Ireland, particularly in the ICT sector.
Lesley Donna Williams, CEO of Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, echoed her commitment to supporting African digital entrepreneurs. She emphasised that partnering with the Irish government and global tech hubs like Dogpatch Labs would enrich their support network, allowing them to provide even greater assistance.
Start-ups across South Africa are encouraged to seize this opportunity. Applications close on Friday, 29 September 2023. For more details on the programme and to submit your application for a chance to secure up to €10 000 in funding, visit the official website.