The business accelerator at Stellenbosch University, LaunchLab, has launched its 7th Ideas Programme, giving entrepreneurs and aspiring innovators the chance to win incubation support worth R50,000.

LaunchLab says its mission is to facilitate valuable connections for startups and corporates, as well as other relevant business partners to help those startups be successful.

The Ideas Programme is intended primarily for very early-stage businesses looking to validate their concepts or improve their technology offering to their market. LaunchLab does this by providing startups with access to its client network that are actively looking for startups to partner with, which aids in the validation.

The programme is aimed at startups that either do not have a prototype or for those that have not yet seen significant sales.

LaunchLab is looking for startup business ideas in multiple industries, including but not limited to: Education; Smart Cities; Cleantech; Internet of Things (IoT); Artificial Intelligence (AI); Advanced Manufacturing; Safety; Blockchain; Fintech; Insurtech; Agritech and Food Innovations; and Social Enterprises.

“The wide range of industry focus areas this year means that you will find a place for your innovative business idea. This is a great opportunity to accelerate that business idea towards market readiness. The impact that engaging with our corporate clients offers cannot be underestimated,” LaunchLab CEO, Philip Marais told Fast Company.

“We find that startups that engage with our clients can accelerate their growth faster than startups following the traditional route to market because the client does not only help provide finance for the startup but access to market as well,” continued  Marais.

Submission requirements

Interested applicants must submit a three minute video pitch online, where they can upload a file on the LaunchLab’s website or send a link the through WeTransfer.

The incubator will be holding info sessions at various partner campuses around South Africa to provide context on the opportunities at the incubator.

LaunchLab will shortlist between 20 and 40 startups to run through a business development crash course. Thereafter, the finalists will be invited to pitch to a panel of judges at the Ideas Pitching Platform, where they will get four minutes to pitch their businesses, culminating in the winners joining the six-month long programme.

Entries are already open and will remain open until the 11th of May. For more information about the programme, visit: http://www.launchlab.co.za/ideas2018.

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