Social entrepreneurs are those that see social challenges as opportunities, devise solutions to overcome these challenges and work out how to make these solutions and businesses sustainable. Social entrepreneurs are the next wave of change makers and social reformers. Nation Builder wants to showcase and support some of these great and emerging social businesses in South Africa – those that are using innovation to address pressing social issues.

15 March to 13 June

Nation Builder is an organisation that supports businesses in leading social change in South Africa. Together with the Mergon Group and LaunchLab, Nation Builder is launching a Social Innovation Challenge for entrepreneurs with solutions that address social development challenges.

Do you have a business idea – no matter how simple or small – that addresses a particular social issue(s), impacts communities, empowers the disadvantaged and has the potential to solve local problems in innovative ways?

Submit a short video (cellphone footage is perfect) of yourself explaining your business idea.  You can submit it through the entry form noted below, or through wetransfer once you have signed up.

Winners will receive their portion of R150,000 prize money as well as business support from the LaunchLab….

Finally, the winning entrepreneur / business idea will also be showcased at Nation Builder’s In Good Company conference in Gauteng in August.

The Process


Between 15 March and 11 May we will be receiving 3 minute video pitches online where you can upload a file on our website, send is a link to a video or send it through wetransfer.

We will be holding info sessions at various partner campuses around South Africa to provide context to the opportunities with LaunchLab and our corporate partners.


After receiving hundreds of entries, we will shortlist 20-40 startups to run through a few weeks of a business development crash course.  During this time we will determine if we have the resources and network to be able to add value to the startups and help them toward success.

After 2 weeks of this, we will select finalists to pitch to a panel of judges at the LaunchLab.

Pitching Platform

The finalists will be invited to our Ideas Pitching Platform, where they will get 4 minutes to pitch their business.  Then our judges will have 4 minutes to ask questions of the entrepreneurs.

At the end of the evening, the LaunchLab Crew with our judges will select those startups that will join our community and programmes to build towards engaging with our corporate partners.

The Details


LaunchLab will receive 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 5 weeks and the details of times, dates, locations, and criteria are listed below.


During the pitch, participants must focus on these key points;

  1. Provide a brief summary of the business/ social innovation idea and its history.
  2. What is the particular social issue that the business idea aims to address?
  3. How does the business idea solve or address the social issue?
  4. Explain how the business intends to make money and be sustainable, while clearly describing your target market or customer profile.
  5. What key milestones have you achieved within your venture?
  6. What is your strategy to grow your business and scale your social impact?
  7. Anything else that we should know?


Entries open on the 15th of March and will remain open until 12:00 midnight on the 11th of May.

There will be Info Sessions to engage face to face with the LaunchLab Crew and our partners at the following dates and venues:

  • 12:00 on 9 April – Stellenbosch University LaunchLab
  • 10:30 on 10 April – University of Pretoria Makerspace
  • 11:30 on 11 April – Tshimologong Precinct