Southern Africa Corporate Innovation Challenge

Providing an enabling environment for Southern African entrepreneurs to thrive working with Corporates.

Introducing the Southern Africa Corporate Innovation Challenge, an open digital event for innovative and forward-thinking startups that will shape the future of Southern Africa.

In Partnership with The World Bank Group

The World Bank Group, in partnership with Plug and Play South Africa, Business Unity South Africa and Department of Science & Innovation (Technology Innovation Agency) seek to identify and connect a select group of Southern African startups to corporate innovation opportunities and potential investment.

The objective of this challenge is to showcase the benefits of corporate innovation to help drive economic growth, new job opportunities, and community upliftment. We wish to help create an enabling environment for startups to grow from collaborations with large corporations.


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Tech Challenge Focus Areas:

  • 1. Fintech: Financial inclusion solutions beyond mobile wallets; Payment platforms to digitise SA taxi industry;
  • 2. Insurtech: Intermediary (advisor/broker) productivity; Customer acquisition; Client retention/experience improvement; Process automation; Distribution solutions for underserved markets; Insurance related EdTech (Savings, Funeral Policy, Life Cover)
  • 3. Health: Remote patient monitoring; Telemedicine; Productivity AI/Machine Learning; Behavioral economics applications; Improve delivery and consumption of healthcare services by public and private healthcare providers (focus area on reaching township economies); Facilitate flow of patient information and interaction for B2B public and private health platforms
  • 4. Food & Beverage category: Direct to consumer, Customer digital experiences, In-store tech solutions, E-commerce, Marketplace, last mile, AI and analytics
  • 5. Property: Tenant experience enhancement, proptech revenue drivers / cost savings
  • 6. Energy & Sustainability: Offgrid line solutions; ESG performance monitoring; Automation (analogue-to-digital); Datamining; Waste management; Ocean innovation; Sustainability packaging solutions
  • 7. TMT/Media: Creative internet and data access solutions (promoting township economy inclusion); Digital product customer adoption awareness; Interactive media space; AI & Analytics (customer insights); Gaming; Content development (Africa specific and EdTech); Media loyalty reward platforms; Customer experience improvement; Affordable VR and AR solutions
  • 8. Enterprise: CyberTheft, Fraud, Datascience (to extract knowledge and insights across multiple industries)

Startups We Are Looking For:

Startups will be evaluated by a panel of industry experts in two rounds, based on their applications and interviews.

Key dates

  • Jun 1st
    Applications open
  • Jun 30th
    Applications close at 10pm
  • Jul 16th
    Innovation Challenge Day

Participating Corporations

  • Sanlam_logo.png
  • Absa_logo.png
  • Growthpoint_logo.png
  • Life_logo.png
  • Distell_logo.png
  • General Electric_logo.png
  • IDC_logo.png
  • V&A Waterfront_logo.png
  • Minerals Council South Africa_logo.png
  • Altron_logo.png
  • Multichoice
  • Pepsico

Join the Southern Africa Corporate Innovation Challenge