ACE Africa Circular Business Showcase 2021

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APPLY FOR THE CIRCULAR BUSINESS SHOWCASE!

Circular economy is increasingly gaining traction as an approach to promote sustainability-oriented innovation and to accelerate resource sustainability in African cities. It is certain that the world can no longer afford the negative and limiting impacts resulting from the linear economy, hence the vital need to move towards a circular economy – a system that emphasizes a closed-loop material flow. Businesses are vital to leading this circular transition. 

As part of their ACE Africa project which is supported by the Embassy of Finland to South Africa, SU LaunchLab and ICLEI Africa are hosting an event in the form of a pitch competition where existing businesses and business ideas from across Africa that contribute to the circular economy will be showcased.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for entrepreneurs with commercialisable ideas or existing businesses committed to circular innovation in climate, food, and health. Unsure what makes a circular business? Find inspiration here.

Eligibility criteria

If your idea or business is suitable for the Showcase you will fit the following criteria for either category:

Existing Business Idea
  • You are operating in  Africa, with a preference for South Africa
  • Your business contributes to the circular economy 
    • Rethink, reduce, reuse, regenerate, recover
    • Your business reduces the environmental impact of consumption and production 
  • Your business focuses on climate, food, or health
  • You have an MVP and/or are selling
  • You have at least one full-time team member
  • You have been working on your venture for more than 6  months
  • You are willing to become an ACE Africa Entrepreneur and enter one of SU LL’s incubation programs
  • You are situated in Africa
  • Your idea is intended to contribute to the circular economy 
    • Rethink, reduce, reuse, regenerate, recover
    • Your idea is intended to reduce the environmental impact of consumption and production 
  • Your idea focuses on circular economy in the area of climate, food, or health
  • You are willing to become an ACE Africa Entrepreneur and enter one of SU LL’s incubation programs

How it works

Submit your ideas online by 23:59 on Sunday, 7 November 2021. 

Shortlisting:

After all the submissions are received, the top participants will be shortlisted, and from that, we will select 8 – 16 finalists. 

Virtual pitching event:

Shortlisted participants will pitch to a panel of judges, potential investors, and an audience at a live event via Zoom on 30 November 2021 from 14:00 – 16:30 SAST. Each team will have 3 minutes to pitch their business or idea to the judging panel, followed by 3 minutes of questions from the judges.

The judging panel will consist of nominees from:

  • SU LaunchLab
  • ICLEI
  • ACE Africa
  • SU LaunchLab Partners

The judges’ scoring will be based on the following criteria*:

Existing Business Idea
  • Customer problem
    • Clear need / problem
    • Market identified and validated
  • Solution
    • Value proposition clear
    • Solution feasible / realistically achievable
    • Originality, innovation, and thoughtfulness
    • Scale potential
    • Impact on problem
    • Differentiation from competition
    • Core revenue model and ancillary revenue streams
  • Circularity
    • Incorporation of circular economy principles in business – rethink, reduce, reuse, regenerate, recover
    • Solution reduces the environmental impact of consumption and production 
    • Emphasis placed on circularity in business identity, aspiration, brand, etc.
  • Progress / traction
    • Product development
    • Traction-to-date (relationships with key market participants, sales, downloads, website traffic, etc.)
  • Team
    • Expertise and experience
  • Future and need
    • Realistic and appropriate call to action / “ask”
    • Measurable, achievable milestones
  • Overall pitch
    • Clear, engaging, and interesting
  • Customer problem
    • Clear need / problem
    • Market identified 
  • Solution
    • Value proposition clear
    • Solution feasible / realistically achievable
    • Originality, innovation, and thoughtfulness
    • Scale potential
    • Impact on problem
  • Circularity
    • Incorporation of circular economy principles in business – rethink, reduce, reuse, regenerate, recover
    • Solution reduces the environmental impact of consumption and production 
    • Emphasis placed on circularity in business identity, aspiration, brand, etc.
  • Progress / traction
    • Tests / customer discovery
    • Relationships with key market participants
    • Grant or other funding
  • Team
    • Expertise and experience
  • Future and need
    • Realistic and appropriate call to action / “ask”
    • Measurable, achievable milestones
  • Overall pitch
    • Clear, engaging, and interesting

*Sub bullet points are meant to serve as guide for applicants – not exhaustive.

Finalists stand the chance to win:

Place Existing Business Idea
1
  • R 25 000 prize  
  • A spot in an SU LL incubation program
  • 1 hour mentoring session with SU LL incubation team
  • R 5 000 prize
  • 1 hour mentoring session with SU LL incubation team
  • 1 hour customer discovery workshop with the other Idea-winners
2
  • R 15 000 prize
  • A spot in an SU LL incubation program
  • 1 hour customer discovery workshop with other Idea-winners
3
  • R 10 000 prize
  • A spot in an SU LL incubation program
  • 1 hour customer discovery workshop with other Idea-winners

Showcase Rules apply

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