Shaping the innovation sector

The biggest African gathering of entrepreneurs and innovation thought leaders comes to Cape Town

The stage is set to accelerate the entrepreneurship space, with the brightest minds in the innovation sector gathering for three days of pitching, partnering on and showcasing the most innovative products and services in Africa.

The SA Innovation Summit, taking place from Wednesday 11 to Friday 13 September 2019 at the Cape Town Stadium, will bring over 3500 delegates from 32 countries together to facilitate more than R1bn in deals between investors and start-ups representing the future of innovation.

The Summit is Africa’s biggest tech start-up event and provides a powerful platform for nurturing, developing and showcasing the very best of African innovation, as well as facilitating thought-leadership around innovation. Around 22 universities and research institutions, along with over 600 companies and organisations will be represented at the 2019 event.

Now in its 12th year, the Summit provides the ideal ecosystem to match over 1500 entrepreneurs with more than 200 potential investors. In 2018, the Match and Invest platform saw 2400 meetings scheduled over the course of two days.

“The technology and start-up space is underfunded in Africa, yet it yields the greatest results in any economy over time. In the UK every pound spent on innovation and tech start-ups yields nine to the economy. Africa still needs to leverage this potential return in its emerging economies,” says Dr Audrey Verhaeghe, chairperson of the SA Innovation Summit.

“The Summit serves as a catalytic event that strengthens and builds the tech start-up sector. We have evolved into Africa’s biggest and most exciting tech start-up event on the calendar and this year will be no different.”

The 2019 Summit will offer an unmissable line-up of world-class speakers, panel discussions and master classes. Experts from across the continent will deliver insights into the innovation landscape, and provide the knowledge and tools for start-ups to achieve exponential growth.

Two key opportunities offered for start-ups to access are the ANDZA Pitching Den and the Africa Cup.

The ANDZA Pitching Den, in collaboration with the SA SME Fund, carries a first place prize of R250 000 and will also give SA’s top entrepreneurs the chance to be considered for R10m in investment funding and acceleration. This competition aims to develop SA entrepreneurs and fast-track them to success, with a focus on seed, venture and growth stage businesses.

The Africa Cup (formerly the SA Innovation Summit Pitching Den) will see the winning start-up – credited for disrupting traditional ways of doing business – receive an investment offer of R5m. The second place start-up will receive an offer of R2.5m and the third place start-up will receive an offer of R1m. The first and second place prizes include acceleration based in Silicon Valley, Budapest or Lagos. Finalists will pitch their businesses in front of an esteemed panel of judges on the final day of the SA Innovation Summit.

A new feature for this year is the partnership between the SA Innovation Summit and the Unicorn Group, a pan-African investment company targeting innovative ideas, start-ups and early stage companies in tech and tech-enabled sectors. The Unicorn Group is also proudly sponsoring the prizes for this year’s Africa Cup.

Tickets for the SA Innovation Summit are available at