Thought Leadership by Philip Marais: LaunchLab’s foundations are set on facilitating valuable connections in 2018
In 2017, we redefined our mission as “facilitating valuable connections for startups and corporates”. What does this mean for 2018? We are planning on a new look inside and out that will be focused on facilitating valuable connections in everything that we do. Expect to see these changes in the near future and experience them as our programmes roll out this year. The result will be that the startups we support through the Lean Iterator Programme and our Countdown Programmes will have more interaction with each other, our mentors and most importantly our clients, the big access-to-market opportunity. The Lean Iterator and Countdown Programmes are part of the Breakthrough Innovation Programme we offer to our corporate clients to access innovative startups. Our Breakthrough Innovation Programme has supported 122 startups and 323 people nationally over the last 3 years of which 70 are currently being incubated national from the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab.
We are continuing to grow as our clients’ needs grow and the number of clients increases. We are very excited and privileged to be working with Nedbank, Santam, ATTACQ and Mercedes-Benz South Africa again this year. Last year saw Santam, ATTACQ and Mercedes-Benz South Africa provide capital to LaunchLab startups to facilitate further corporate engagement. This has in turn provided scaling opportunities for these startups that entrepreneurs can only dream about, usually. This is the power of valuable connections between startups and corporates. In 2018, we will continue to do the awesome development work we do with entrepreneurs and their ideas nationwide which develops a pipeline of startups for our clients and we will also deliver more mature startups to meet our clients’ immediate needs through a more streamlined process. Our clients also benefit from a single point of contact to innovation from Stellenbosch University and some of the other major universities around South Africa when working with LaunchLab.
We know that the breakthrough innovation challenges that we run for our clients this year will be incredible opportunities for local entrepreneurs and I urge you to sign up on our website (www.launchlab.co.za) to make sure you don’t miss out. Last year Jonga emerged as the winner of the Santam Safety challenge as well as hundreds of thousands of Rands in funding to pilot their novel low-income security solution. In the ATTACQ Retail Challenge, Gift-Drop was one of the startups that ATTACQ provided access to its client base to pilot their digital gifting solution (launching in the coming weeks) and Mercedes-Benz choose three winners to pilot their innovative solutions within Mercedes-Benz South Africa. The overall winner will also attend the Mercedes-Benz global startup competition this year!
We will be running all these challenges and more again this year and I hope to see you at the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab as well as our other events around the country. Let’s make this a great year together!