AfricArena an SA-based accelerator and SA SME Fund, a R1.4 billion govt supported fund founded by 50 JSE corporates have launched SA Startup Nation Challenge to help scale tech startups in South Africa.
SA SME Fund will enable more capital and market access for South African entrepreneurs, particularly black entrepreneurs who are still under-represented in the digital sector.
According to Christophe Viarnaud, AfricArena Founder & CEO. “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.”
Targeting high-potential entrepreneurs across the country, Startup Nation Challenge will select the top 12 startups to pitch at AfricArena Tour in Cape Town at Workshop17 on 3 September 2019, the eve of the World Economic Forum, and in Johannesburg on 10 September 2019 at Workshop17.
From the 12, 5 finalists will qualify and compete at the AfricArena Summit on 11th and 12th November 2019 at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town.
The top three companies will walk away with several prizes, including a trip to Vivatech in Paris in May 2020 to showcase their offerings at the biggest European tech event of the year.
AfricArena launched in 2017 with support from major international sponsors including BNP Paribas, La French Tech, Silicon Cape, Vinci Energies, AirFrance KLM, Engie, Sanofi, Saint-Gobain, Methys, City of Cape Town, Wesgro, Proparco, RCS, and Leroy Merlin along with several major investment networks such as EuroQuity, SAVCA, AVCA and ABAN.
Ketso Gordhan, CEO of SA SME Fund agrees that AfricArena has built a unique model by combining investor and corporate impact to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs in the tech sector at a pan-African level and with a well-recognised international reputation.
“We are looking forward to using this SA-born platform to support the mission of the SA SME Fund, which is to power up the venture economy and identify tech business with the potential to scale-up into high growth businesses,” concluded Gordhan.