Science Idea & Startup Showcase

Do you have an idea with commercial potential?

Do you have an awesome existing business?

We want to hear about your science-based solution and give you the chance to win a share of almost $ 7 000 in prize money, a spot in one of SU LaunchLab’s incubation programs, and more!

Humanity faces unprecedented challenges. But nowhere else are we more resolved to solving those challenges, than right here in Africa. Stellenbosch University LaunchLab believes that the sciences hold the keys to a brighter future for Africa which is why it is hosting a science-themed startup and idea showcase in partnership with the University of Stellenbosch Science Faculty and Alphawave.

The Science Showcase will spotlight 8 – 10 of the best commercialisable ideas and existing businesses from across the continent focused on providing science-based solutions for African challenges. The winning teams will gain access to valuable prize money, mentoring sessions, focused workshops, and a spot in the February 2022 cohort of Countdown, SU LaunchLab’s flagship incubation program.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for entrepreneurs with commercialisable ideas or existing businesses that provide science-based solutions to African challenges in the following fields:

  • Physical sciences – physics, chemistry, earth, and space
  • Life sciences – biochemistry, microbiology, zoology, botany, ecology
  • Applied sciences – engineering, medicine
  • Computer sciences
  • Mathematics

If your science-based solution is suitable for the Showcase you will fit the following eligibility criteria for either category:

Existing Business Idea
  • You are operating in  Africa
  • You have a science-based solution to address an African challenge* 
  • 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
  • Willing to enter SU LL’s flagship Countdown program’s February cohort (8-week course)
  • You are situated in Africa
  • You have a science-based and commercialisable idea that would address an African challenge*
  • Willing to enter SU LL’s flagship Countdown program’s February cohort (8-week course)

*The challenge does not have to be unique to Africa but must be encountered in Africa

How it works

1. Deadline:

Submit your ideas online by 23:59 on Sunday, 29 August 2021. 

2. Shortlisting:

After all the submissions are received, the top participants will be shortlisted, and from that, we will select 8 – 10 finalists. 

3. Virtual pitching event:

Shortlisted participants will pitch to a panel of judges, potential investors, and an audience at a live event via Zoom on 21 September 2021 from 14:00 – 16:30 SAST. Every team will have 4 minutes to pitch and the judges will have 4 minutes to present questions. 

The judging panel may consist of nominees from:

  • SU Science Faculty
  • Alphawave
  • SU LaunchLab Science Partners

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

Existing Business Idea
Customer challenge

    • Clear need / challenge
    • Market identified and validated

Solution

    • Value proposition clear
    • Solution feasible / realistically achievable
    • Originality, innovation, and thoughtfulness
    • Scale potential
    • Impact on challenge
    • Differentiation from competition
    • Core revenue model and ancillary revenue streams

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 challenge

    • Clear need / challenge
    • Market identified 

Solution

    • Value proposition clear
    • Solution feasible / realistically achievable
    • Originality, innovation, and thoughtfulness
    • Scale potential
    • Impact on challenge

Progress / traction

    • Tests
    • 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 At Large:

Alphawave Tech Entrepreneur Prize*

1
  • R50 000 prize
  • A spot and in 50% discount for SU LL’s flagship Countdown program (February cohort)
  • 1 hour mentoring session with SU LL CEO
  • R 10 000 prize
  • 1 hour mentoring session
  • 1 hour customer discovery workshop with the other Idea-winners
  • R 33 333 prize from Alphawave
  • A spot in and 50% discount for SU LL’s flagship Countdown program (February cohort) (if not already received the discount for above 1st, 2nd, or 3rd prizes)

* This prize is awarded at the discretion of Alphawave. Entries need to include at least one of the Internet of Everything themes:

  • Interconnected sensor technology
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Electronic design and development
  • Machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science
  • Back-end and front-end software development (mobile and web)
  • Extended, virtual and augmented reality
2
  • R 25 000 prize 
  • A spot and in and 50% discount for SU LL’s flagship Countdown program (February cohort)
  • 1 hour customer discovery workshop with other Idea-winners
3
  • R 10 000 prize 
  • A spot and in and 50% discount for SU LL’s flagship Countdown program (February cohort)
  • 1 hour customer discovery workshop with other Idea-winners

 

Virtual pitching event date & time: 21 September 2021 at 14:00 – 16:30 SAST.

If you have an innovative Science business, submit your application now!

Showcase Rules

REGISTER TO ATTEND!