Irish initiative looks to reward SA’s tech start-ups

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 31 Aug 2023
Applications for the Irish Tech Challenge 2023 are open.
Applications for the Irish Tech Challenge 2023 are open.

Locally-owned, growth-stage tech start-ups − particularly young, black, women-owned businesses − are invited to enter the Irish Tech Challenge South Africa 2023.

The Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, in partnership with Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, the Department of Science and Innovation, the Technology Innovation Agency and Dogpatch Labs Ireland, has opened applications for the tech challenge.

Introduced last year, the Irish Tech Challenge seeks start-ups whose work aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It aims to forge mutually beneficial partnerships between South African entrepreneurs and Irish technology expertise, harnessing Ireland’s position as a global high-tech hub.

Furthermore, it looks to be a platform for tech entrepreneurs from both countries to thrive through collaboration, networking and mentorship.

Paul Deane, trade counsellor at the Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, comments: “By leaning on the local South African tech ecosystem as a partner, entrepreneurs can effectively scale tech solutions that align with and contribute to the South African government's development agenda.

“Together we can capacitate tech start-ups to grow outside the borders of South Africa, and the programme will also strengthen the relationships between this country and Ireland, particularly in the field of ICT.”

The Irish Tech Challenge encourages applications from companies that address issues outlined in the SDGs and their resonance in the South African context; namely clean and green tech, circular economies, med/health/biotech, edtech, and water, sanitation and hygiene.

The initiative will award five entrepreneurs up to €10 000 (about R204 000) each in funding, a funded trip to Ireland to participate in a curated business networking programme, access to the Irish tech ecosystem, as well as acceleration support, in collaboration with Dogpatch Labs.

“As a hub for digital innovation, Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct is dedicated to fostering a community of top-tier African digital entrepreneurs,” says Tshimologong CEO Lesley Donna Williams.

“Partnering with the Irish government and global digital hubs like Dogpatch Labs enriches our journey, allowing us to exchange insights and enhance our support to African tech entrepreneurs.”

A virtual information session for the Irish Tech Challenge South Africa 2023 will be hosted on 13 September.

Applications close on 29 September. To submit applications for the challenge, click here.