MTN Solution Space Venture Innovation Pogram for African Tech Startups

Venture Incubation Programme

Program(s) Offered: Entrepreneurship
Program Level: StartUps
Provider: MTN Solution Space
Country to Work in: South Africa

Scholarship Description
MTN Group is looking for startups that are either building a sustainable Africa through digital solutions for health, education, agriculture, fintech, energy and IoT, or enabling businesses through digital solutions for religion, sport, news and e-commerce.

The Venture Incubation Programme (VIP) offers startups several key advantages. We’re located in the heart of the V&A Waterfront, where startups are on the doorstep of Africa’s fastest growing tech hub. We offer proof-of-concept (POC) collaboration opportunities with our industry partner MTN Group and a pool of early-stage investors.

The VIP is designed to provide a supportive ecosystem to help startups build viable and scalable innovation-driven companies. Startups have access to a range of resources including co-working space, practical learning clinics, mentors, weekly check-ins and staff advisors, and a community of peers who learn and grow together.

DIGITAL STARTUPS: For our current program at the Solution Space Waterfront we are looking for startups that are developing digital solutions across health, education, agriculture, fintech, energy IoT, religion, sport, news and e-commerce.

TEAM OF 2+: We’re not looking for single founders, but teams of at least two with the right balance of skills and ability to build, test and deliver. The founder or majority shareholder must be the lead participant and must have the ability to commit full-time to the programme over the three months.

PROTOTYPE / MVP: Most of our startups enter with some sort of business case, early version of a product and a couple of team members. They have a working prototype with a minimum feature set ready to conduct early-market testing to further establish product and market fit.

OPPORTUNITY & TRACTION: The initial concept development demonstrates deep and intimate understanding of the problem and market need or opportunity. The idea must have progressed beyond concept and should demonstrate evidence of early market testing, customers, revenues, patents or intellectual property filings.

Eligible groups
Citizens of African countries

Participating Institutions
Solution Space Waterfront, University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, South Africa

Fields of study
Focus Areas include:
  1. Fintech
  2. E-Commerce
  3. Energy Ed Tech
  4. Healthtech
  5. Sports and News
  6. IOT
  7. Agtech
Sponsorship duration
Start date is 3rd April 2018 and End date is 30th June 2018

Scholarship benefits
MTN INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP: Selected startups will gain access to MTN APIs, MTN Service Delivery Platform, MTN technical experts and mentors to provide feedback and guidance and a package of support from technology partners.

FEEDBACK & GUIDANCE: Startups receive valuable feedback and guidance from our Entrepreneur-in-Residence and network of experienced mentors and industry partners. Each startup is paired with a mentor for the programme and have access to the Solution Space’s network of GSB alumni and corporate partners.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILLS: We apply a learning-by-doing approach. At workshops and clinics, startups learn founder fundamentals and core skills focused on moving the business forward. Startups apply what they learn through practical outcomes from each session.
ADVISORY SERVICES: Access to pro-bono partners and a network of consultants to support with specialist expertise e.g. legal, HR, digital user experience, venture capital.

CO-WORKING & COMMUNITY: We focus on building a vibrant community of entrepreneurs and offer a calendar of regular events designed to increase a startup’s knowledge and expand their network. We prioritize peer learning and mentoring through access to our co-working space and regular office-hours.

Method of Application
ONLINE APPLICATION: Startups submit applications online in January/February and June/July each year, before the initial start date of each Venture Incubation Programme.

PRE-SELECTION DESIGN SPRINT: The Solution Space team reviews the applications and the top 30 startups are selected to participate in a five-day design sprint to assess the fundamentals of the business and the team.

PITCH TO A SELECTION PANEL: At the end of the five-day design sprint, successful startups pitch to a final selection panel of corporate partners, early-stage investors, mentors and entrepreneurs.

FINAL SELECTION: The top 10-15 startups are selected to participate in the three-month Venture Incubation Programme and accelerate the development of their digital solution. Startups receive mentorship and training in addition to all the services offered by the Solution Space.

It is important to read the FAQs and also to visit the official website (link to it is below) for complete information

The deadline to apply is 28th February 2018

The Solution Space was founded in 2014 at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. The university's Vice Chancellors Strategic Award provided initial capital, and our Founding Partner, the MTN Group, provided significant support from 2015. Our vision is to be known and recognized for pioneering ideas that impact and shape the future of Africa. Our mission is to inspire, nurture and equip the next generation of leaders to build a better future on the continent.

Application Deadline: 28 February 2018
Open to International Applicants: No (ONLY Africans)

More Scholarship Information and Application

Related: Entrepreneurial Awards for Ideas and Start-Ups

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