Connecting science, technology and innovation with business and entrepreneurship: solving global “wicked problems” by applying the capabilities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


Last year, 80 Maties student teams made of 200 students registered to take part in the Inaugural edition of the SU IdeaSmash, in collaboration with the office of Research and Innovation, and the SU Student Representative Council. 6 of the ten finalists are currently going through incubation program here at the LaunchLab. Building on this success, we continue to encourage trans-disciplinary problem solving and concept development, under the broad theme of the fourth Industrial Revolution, aimed at accelerating holistic experiential behaviour among students.

Stellenbosch (University) is the “Palo Alto (and Stanford) of African Startup and Venture creation scene”, and we are very proud of our University’s heritage as a thought leader’s University, that can share some of its substance with the world, by way of practical problem solving and application.

Aligned with this global call to action in certain core areas of human existence (as enshrined in the UN Global sustainable development goals) we are launching a platform for ideation and open innovation, aimed at giving students the opportunity to showcase their solution through this competition.


The purpose of our initiative this year is to engage stakeholders and champions at our university that share our vision for co-curricular inclusion aimed at broadening the learning experience of students, by exclusively giving them a taste of the real world and its complexities in areas that affects our collective responsibilities towards alleviating these pains. We want to work with senior managements, deans of faculties, head of departments, alumni, project leaders, and custodians of special projects within the university to join forces with us, and make this dream a reality.

launchlab fellowship

We are looking for submissions from students that are creating businesses that perform activities that contribute to the research, development and design of new products or to improving existing products, and that generate new technological knowledge for adoption by the marketplace; or new services in the implementation of or significantly improve production or delivery methods.

Examples include: medicines, products, infrastructure, innovative financing mechanisms, business modeling and insights using specialized capabilities, etc.

Our starting point is to host a series of masterclasses in specific areas relevant to our core sectors of focus as far as this competition is concerned.

The LaunchLab, in partnership with the office of the Vice Rector for Innovation, and the SRC is looking for startup business ideas in multiple categories, including but not limited to following:

  • Supply Chain and Logistics
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Data Science and Machine learning application
  • Health Care and Biomedicals
  • Business Modeling and Simulation
  • New Media
  • IoT and Smart Cities
  • Education
  • Clean technology
  • Blockchain integration
  • Innovation infrastructure
  • Social Innovation/Revolution.
  • Agriculture and food.
  • Wine Innovation.
  • Retail
  • Mining Metals
  • Industrials  

Important Date:

  • Pitching Finals: 14 May 2019

We will be receiving 3 minute video pitches online until the 29th of April where you can upload a file on YouTube of your concept and idea. 

After receiving hundreds of entries, we will shortlist 15 concepts.

Pitching Platform:
The finalists will be invited to our pitching platform, where they will get 4 minutes to pitch their business.


The following points should be addressed within the pitch submission:

  1. Problem and need
  2. Value proposition
  3. Social Issue addressed/Target market
  4. Sustainability and profit model
  5. Business Idea or Solution
  6. Team

The Final Event: 

Then our judges will have 4 minutes to ask questions of the entrepreneurs. At the end of the evening,  judges will select the winning concepts and Ideas.

Winning Ideas or concepts would get the following benefits:

  • A share of R 50 000 
  • A certificate of recognition from the office of the Vice Rector of Research and Innovation