The initiative, which is part of the global Yei program, provides science-based startups in its early-stage with the opportunity to develop and grow their businesses in France. The program is organized by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in partnership with Hello Tomorrow.
Participants of the accelerator program will get to know the French research and innovation environment as well as gain access to market access opportunities in French and global markets.
Applications for the program will close on 22 November and winners set to be announced next month. Shortlisted candidates will be selected via video investor-pitch style interviews which will take place between 25 and 29 November.
The startups must fulfill these criteria to qualify for the program:
- Be in the process of developing a new technology that is based on AI, in any industry
- Clearly show and motivate the product’s potential for French and European markets
- Be working on a technology project that is at an early stage of development, that is seed-phase or Series-A
- Be registered South African companies in early-stage or pre-commercialisation
- Have a team of at least two but less than 30 employees and less than $2-million or R30-million in annual revenue
- Not be a past Yei program beneficiary
In a joint statement last week, TIA and the French embassy said that the program will not only increase the global competitiveness of South African startups but will also help the French technical experts selected from a network of incubators to identify and nurture innovative technologies.
The program will be implemented in parallel with similar programs in the US, Canada, Germany, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, and Taiwan.
As part of the program, three South African companies will be selected to travel to France early next year to attend the 2020 Hello Tomorrow Global Summit and spend to meet with potential partners, connect with the best resources and set up business operations.
Other than attending training sessions on how to do business in France, and meeting with technical and business partners, participants will also get to explore the innovation ecosystem outside Paris with a tailored program in a pre-identified incubator or accelerator
The French embassy will cover the return airfare, accommodation, Hello Tomorrow Summit entrance fee and costs related to training and meetings. Additionally, the embassy will contribute to accommodation costs in Paris during the first week of the initiative. TIA will also cover the accommodation and ground transport costs for the second week of the program.