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Call for digital start-ups to enter Demo Africa

Harry Hare, executive director and producer at Demo Africa.

Harry Hare, executive director and producer at Demo Africa.

Digital start-ups from SA and the rest of the African continent are invited to enter the 2017 edition of the African continent's launch pad for emerging technologies, the Demo Africa programme.

Demo Africa is a flagship initiative of business partnership network, LIONS@frica, aimed at improving the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa. Key partners of the organisation include: Microsoft, Nokia, Intel, InfoDev, African Development Bank, the US State Department and the African Technology Foundation.

The Demo Africa programme gives technology entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet potential investors and technology buyers. Digital start-ups and innovators have until 31 August to apply for the challenge, after which the top 30 start-ups will each be provided with mentorship and tools worth more than R3.3 million.

This year's edition of the Demo Africa 2017 event will take place on 23 and 24 November in Johannesburg at the Birchwood Hotel and Convention Centre, making it the second year that Gauteng will host the event.

"We are very excited to be working with the Gauteng province to showcase Africa's best technology entrepreneurs and provide them an opportunity to launch and pitch their products and services," says Harry Hare, executive director and producer at Demo Africa.

Demo Africa says in the past five years it has launched more than 180 start-ups that have raised more than R700 million in investment and business deals. Some of the start-ups to launch at Demo Africa include GoMetro, GMaven, Eduze, SpacePointe, Zuvaa, Shop Soko, Lipisha, Eneza Education, Eventus, Traffic Bytes and Vivifi.

Gauteng premier David Makhura says: "We recognise that Demo Africa brings the best emerging technology firms in Africa and introduces new technology trends and investment opportunities to about 2 000 investors, technology buyers, corporate acquirers, company founders, SME support institutions, strategic partners and global press. As such, Demo Africa is well suited to the economic profile and economic development plan of the Gauteng province."

The winning start-ups will receive an eight-week support and mentorship programme and access to tools and services from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. The programme explores critical business skills such as business development, customer value proposition and finance management.

Entry categories include health, education, agriculture, commerce, hospitality, manufacturing, entertainment, energy and logistics. Applicants must have a working product, have an innovative solution to a difficult problem, have potential to scale and a team to execute the solution, adds Demo Africa.

Apply to launch through the Venture Africa portal at www.venture-africa.com.


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