Applications open for AfricArena innovation challenges


The Cape Town-based AfricArena conference, which takes place in November, has opened applications to a number of open innovation challenges.

Disrupt Africa reported in April AfricArena the event, which is scheduled for November 15-16 and will be held in partnership with Wesgro and Silicon Cape, was hosting a “World Tour” in May to select startups to pitch at the event.

Moroccan startups have until June 26 to apply here for the pre-selection pitch session set for July 4, while Nigerian startups must apply here by July 8 for a July 18 pre-selection event in Lagos.

The conference recently announced a partnership with French counterpart VivaTech, which has culminated in the two partnering to run a joint challenge for African startups which will see the top three finalists pitch at the Cape Town summit of AfricArena.

Details of that challenge are yet to be announced, but AfricArena has announced a handful of further challenges, which are open to all startups with an existing product. Applicants are also expected to be able to prove substantial growth and traction, as well as market and customer validation.

Two of the event sponsors – Vinci Energies and RCS Group – have launched challenges that will see three startups from each challenge selected to attend AfricArena for training and pitching sessions.

Vinci Energies has launched a challenge for Kenyan, Moroccan, Senegalese and Nigerian startups, looking for disruptive solutions that use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain to quantify, manage and optimise energy exchange flows at microgrid or national grid level.

The winner of this challenge will get to work on a mutual proof-of-concept (POC) with Vinci Energies, as well as receive the opportunity to pitch to the company’s Inerbiz Corporate Fund. Applications are open here.

RCS Group is searching for entrepreneurs that have a solution able to secure and store customer identification and authentication credentials in order to ease customer on-boarding and transaction approval. The winning startup will have the opportunity to partner with RCS in the integration of their solution with the company’s existing system. Applications are open here.

Meanwhile, Air France KLM has also launched an open innovation challenge, looking for solutions aimed at Joon, their new lower-cost subsidiary. This challenge is aimed at innovators with solutions that either enhance passenger’s personal devices’ experience or the customer on-board connected experience. Applications are open here.

The winners of these challenges will be flown to AfricArena in Cape Town, where they will have the chance to pitch to hundreds of investors, partners and sponsors present.


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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