Can your innovation change the nation?

We believe it can!
If you are an early-stage social entrepreneur who wants to solve a major social challenge, we invite you to register now for our Social Tech Start-up Challenge, due to start 25 Feb 2019.

Build your business while you build the nation

Aspiring entrepreneurs and young start-ups, we want to give you an opportunity to continue developing your innovative digital solutions for the agricultural, manufacturing and technology sectors in order to help solve some of the country’s biggest social challenges.


You have the opportunity to positively impact big social challenges in South Africa

Stand a chance to secure R 1 Million in funding towards developing your innovation

Receive first class training in essential skills for building your social business

Plug into a network and connect with other innovators in South Africa

Develop a prototype to test your idea

“The challenge has enabled us identifying our core value as a social enterprise and scaling that value to drive impact.”

Marlon Parker

RLabs - Participant 2018

Social Tech Focus

The application and implementation of technology-based solutions have the potential to transform the South African economy and create social impact. Innovation is the lever that can open these opportunities, and improve the lives of millions of South Africans, by making goods and services more accessible and affordable, directly contributing towards reducing poverty and growing the economy.

The sectors likely to benefit most from innovation in South Africa are agriculture, manufacturing and technology, but their innovations’ impact can only fully be realised if they are commercialised and able to scale, at low cost, to the largest possible group of beneficiaries.

Grow Nation

The agricultural sector in South Africa forms a vital part of the country’s socio-economic and socio-political stability. Challenges faced by this sector include the fact that 45% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is younger than 15 years of age and will be looking for employment in the next decade, likely in agriculture, the realities of climate change disrupting rainfall, environmental risks such as rising average temperatures and the impact of technology and telecommunications.

This sector needs to create substantially more direct and indirect employment and maintain a positive trade balance from primary and processed agricultural products.

Agri-tech start-ups or innovations ensuring higher yields while keeping production costs low, and growing employment in the sector will have wide-ranging impact.

Make Nation

A key component for job creation, GDP growth and development in any country is a robust and vibrant manufacturing sector. In a market that favours automation over traditional manufacturing processes, innovation within the South African manufacturing sector is required to continue stimulating industrial growth and national competitiveness.

Innovations in this sector should not be linear, since sustained success will require consistent innovation, especially to stay ahead of competitors. Innovations in manufacturing are likely to include new cost-cutting technologies, the benchmarking of standards and production methods and extending business development initiatives, ensuring that companies capitalise on opportunities while minimising threats.

Innovation involves taking risks, and those who are most willing to take risks in this sector are also most likely to have success.

Tech Nation

Technological progress has enabled even the poorest South Africans to have their own mobile phones, providing access to information and connecting people to companies in interesting and novel ways.

The emerging internet of things (IoT), where we are all connected to everything all the time, will not only cut the cost of services like job-hunting, healthcare and education, it will also help with a person’s general integration into the national economy.

Greater access to the internet, and the ubiquity of smart phones, make this ability to access information, communicate and share data possible for anyone, everywhere. This presents an unprecedented opportunity for developing new mobile applications that solve everyday problems.

Makers that make
a difference

Join us as and help us move South Africa to a more prosperous future.

Challenge Journey

20 Dec - 25 Feb


Sign up and receive confirmation of registration

25 Feb - 22 Mar


Submit your application and connect with other entrepreneurs

29 Mar


The Top 30 applications will be selected by a panel of innovation Experts

01 Apr - 15 May


The Top 30 join a 3 day entrepreneurship workshop in Cape Town and develop a pretotype.

20 May - 07 Jun


Each of the Top 30 assemble a team for their Start-up

14 Jun


A panel of Experts selects the Top 15 applications

17 Jun - 02 Aug


The Top 15 develop a prototype and join the GIBS entrepreneurship program in Johannesburg.

05 Aug


A panel of Experts selects the Top 5 teams

05 Aug - 29 Nov


The Top 5 ideas will be further developed into a MVP that can be tested on the market.

29 Nov...


At the final in Johannesburg the Top 5 pitch their MVP to a panel of experts and can land up to R1 Million in funding.

Frequently Asked Questions