R100 000 up for grabs in The SA Innovation Summit’s AYO Scaling Africa Investment Challenge
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Africa’s largest start-up event, The SA Innovation Summit, has announced that it will extend the closing of entries to the AYO Scaling Africa Investment competition.
The SA Innovation Summit and JSE-listed ICT investment Group, AYO Technology Solutions (AYO) have created a funding-securement challenge in a bid to further escalate the continent’s adoption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This year’s theme is “Expanding Horizons”.
The series aims to open doors to new and forward-thinking innovators and companies to find solutions to the continent’s problems.
AYO marketing and communications executive Jeni Kostova says: “It’s an exciting event to be involved in. The technology space is a hotly competitive landscape, even more so than ever before, given the speed of innovation that is required to bridge the chasm wrought by the seismic shift to digital in 2020. In this competition, we will award a cash prize to the winner of the pitch.
"AYO is also looking to fund Series A companies, who have successfully concluded their proof of concept addressing a particular problem, have demonstrated some form of traction, and who require development. We are excited to see the entries."
Entrants are to complete an entry form on the SA Innovation website. The panel will select the top five entries that will battle it out in a live Demo Day on July 28 for a cash prize of R100 000, plus an opportunity for further equity investment from AYO.
SA Innovations Summit’s founder and chairperson Audrey Verhaeghe says: “Scaling is an entrepreneurial word we don’t spend enough time on, it is vastly different to growth. When you scale, you scale exponentially beyond your current markets even beyond borders, whereas growth is more organic. We, therefore, want to see more innovative companies enter this competition, who are geared to scale without their costs growing as much."
Verhaeghe notes that the technology sector is filled with competitions but the AYO Scaling Africa Series is different.
“This is one competition that goes beyond the prize money to include not only the potential for real investment funding but also the investment into skills, experience, and new markets that the investor can offer the winner,” said Verhaeghe.
The competition is in two parts – one for the cash prize and the other for potential investment. They require different approaches in terms of pitching and submission.
“We also need to know if the business can deliver – what’s your traction? And we need to see proof that the market already responds to what you do. In short, convince us that the money we put into your company will make more,” said Kostova.
The SA Innovation Summit will be a hybrid event this year and takes place from September 21 to 23.