Saint-Gobain and AfricArena have partnered to launch a joint open innovation challenge targeting e-commerce and fintech startups in Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa. The challenge comes at a time when the adoption of e-commerce has accelerated significantly across the continent. More businesses are adopting digital approaches, partly fueled by the global pandemic and increased internet access across the continent.
AfricArena is an SA-based tech ecosystem accelerator & deal flow platform in Africa while Saint-Gobain is a global designer of materials and solutions that positively impact people’s lives. The company has a presence in 18 African countries and invests significantly in innovation. The Group looks to support Africa with solutions tailored towards the local needs.
Jean-Claude Lasserre, Saint-Gobain SA, and SSA CEO described the partnership with AfricArena as a way “to make Africa, and in turn the world, a better home.”
Bintou Adekoya, the COO at AfricArena termed the collaboration as a way of “aiming to identify the best African startups who, through their innovative solutions, will have a real and tangible impact and help the Fintech industry evolve in Africa.”
Since 2018, AfricArena and Saint-Gobain have partnered in several open innovation challenges ranging from digital platforms that enhance worker skills, to analytical tools that predict climate change.
Adoption of financial services in Africa is at fever pitch and is creating demand-led innovations – a feat that aligns with Saint-Gobain’s fixation ethos. This has motivated the partnership with AfricArena to bring an open innovation challenge targeting startups running on fintech and e-commerce solutions. NOVA, the external ventures arm of Saint-Gobain supports the challenge.
Startups with product-market-fit solutions that serve as marketplaces, payment platforms or community savings for consumers in the informal markets to tokenized vounchers redeemable by Saint-Gobain products. The startups must be operating in Kenya, Egypt and South Africa. All should have product market fit and market validation. Any startup within the Seed to Serie A stage is welcomed to apply.
3 of the emerging startups will be selected to pitch at the annual AfricArena 2021 Summit scheduled for Cape Town in November. The presentations will be done before Saint-Gobain executives and other investors. Prior to the summit, there will be a full-day workshop with The Founders Bootcamp, and FSAT Labs on pitching, investor engagement, and business development.
The winning startup will work with Saint-Gobain businesses to come up with a POC solution. The final 3 startups will receive $30,000 worth of Amazon Web Services credits.
Startups can drop their applications here