Irish tech initiative spotlights SA techpreneurs

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 20 Jun 2022

Five local tech start-ups have been selected to take their businesses global as part of the inaugural Irish Tech Challenge South Africa.

The winning start-ups – ShazaCin Accessible Media, Iraka Biotech, Memeza Shout, CreditAIs and Ambani Africa – were selected from over 21 applicants, according to the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).

In a statement, the DSI says the start-ups had to demonstrate their impact in addressing one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

They will embark on a fully-funded eight-day curated business networking programme in Ireland, at the end of the month. There, they will be able to access the expertise of Irish tech leaders and build networks, while receiving funding support of up to R129 200 each.

Higher education, science and innovation minister Dr Blade Nzimande congratulated the five impact-driven tech start-ups.

Expressing appreciation for Ireland's support of development in SA, Nzimande says he hopes research and innovation partnerships will be strengthened to benefit more start-ups in the country.

“We continue to identify grassroots innovators – especially women- and youth-led enterprises – in South Africa and assist them to enhance their innovations and skills through a range of interventions, including funding and business development support towards pre-commercialisation.”

Announced in February, the Irish Tech Challenge is an initiative of the Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, in partnership with the DSI and its entity, the Technology Innovation Agency.

It aims to create mutually-beneficial partnerships between Irish tech experts and South African tech entrepreneurs to drive innovation, job creation and inclusive economic growth in the country.

Nzimande notes government has made significant strides through the Technology Acquisition and Deployment Fund in facilitating market entry for local innovations that can improve the delivery of basic services.

“All these initiatives are aimed at creating a strong technology and innovation ecosystem in South Africa, and ultimately at contributing to socio-economic growth in the country.”

The minister urged the five companies to become ambassadors of development to motivate similar start-ups in their localities in the country.