For automotive organisations constant improvements in managing manufacturing processes, as well as in the sales and marketing environment, are needed to keep pace with global trends.  Mercedes-Benz South Africa, LaunchLab and STARTUP AUTOBAHN are looking for local South African solutions to stay ahead of the curve. Students and professionals stand a chance to receive incubation support, or if you are already part of an established startup, international exposure and a share of R600 000 in supplier development capital.

The Mercedes-Benz South Africa Innovation Challenge

August 2017 to June 2018

Mercedes-Benz South Africa Limited has a history of over 60 years in South Africa as a committed corporate citizen. The company’s headquarters is located in Zwartkop, Gauteng, from where the Mercedes-Benz, smart and FUSO products are marketed and financed. The company also has a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in East London, where it manufactures various derivatives of the C-Class for export in both left- and right-hand drive to every continent of the world. In addition, Mercedes-Benz South Africa also assembles commercial vehicles at its East London facility.

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Mercedes-Benz South Africa is partnering with LaunchLab, supported by STARTUP AUTOBAHN, on various challenge topics in three categories within the manufacturing and sales and marketing space and we are looking for serious and capable entrepreneurs/contractors and students or existing startups and service providers to provide solutions for these topics. They are:

1. Big Data and Machine Learning for Manufacturing

2. Smart Operations: Digitisation of Logistics and Production

3. Sales and Marketing Solutions

Examples include:

Welding Data Analysis, Fault Management App, Chat-Bot application in Manufacturing, Image Recognition app for Quality Management Inspections, Uber Maintenance, Logistics Picking Optimisation, Vehicle Inspection Solution, Used Car Photo Solution, Personalised Offer Generator and a Mobility Platform

Challenge Details

Information Seminar

A group of executives from Mercedes-Benz South Africa as well as the LaunchLab team hosted an information seminar in Stellenbosch to engage with all interested participants and the startup community around the challenge.  We also recorded the information seminar live on the web, and will share the video, slides and data from MBSA below.

The purpose of the information seminar is to give entrepreneurs as much info as possible on what Mercedes-Benz South Africa is looking for so that real businesses can be built and partnered with.

Date: 31 August 2017


Location: Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab

Download the Presentation

Pitching Platform

After the workshop LaunchLab will be receiving pitches in the form of 3 minute videos on our website as well as set up a camera on different campuses for recording in person. This will happen over the course of five weeks and the details of times, dates, locations, and criteria will be listed on our website following the first information seminar and live stream.


1. Brief summary of the business

2. What is your customer’s problem?

3. How do you solve it?

4. What is your progress so far?

5. What are your next steps?

6. Anything else that we should know?

Submitting Pitches:

Online: Anytime until midnight on 29 September on our website or via wetransfer.

Or 12:00-16:00 on the applicable days: Dates and locations can be found on the signup form.

If you have any further queries, please email us at

What’s next?

After entries close, an announcement will be made on the shortlisted participants for the next phase. During the month of October, these shortlisted participants will have the opportunity to polish their ideas with input from Mercedes-Benz South Africa, LaunchLab and STARTUP AUTOBAHN for the final pitch and selection process. Existing startups could already be identified during this phase for pilot projects to be presented to Mercedes-Benz South Africa decision makers in November.