SAIS 2’s RE:innovation Challenge

Startup ecosystems play a critical role in providing an environment in which African startups can thrive and grow. In many countries, these systems are still young and thus often vulnerable to unforeseen events such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Unexpected shocks can interrupt the operations of startups, incubators, universities, and even large firms for a significant amount of time. It is therefore important to strengthen the ecosystems’ ability to rapidly recover from negative events. Such resilience is also the key enabling factor to ecosystems’ development and growth.

The Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS 2) RE: innovation challenge is now calling for proposals of solutions to make Southern African startup ecosystems more resilient and better able to face an uncertain future.

The RE: innovation challenge call is open from Wednesday, 26 August, to Sunday, 27 September 2020 at 23:59 CAT.


  • You have identified a challenge to and a solution that strengthens the resilience of a startup ecosystem in one of the following countries: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, or Zambia.
  • The solution is technology-enabled and easily adapted for quick implementation.
  • You have a project consortium comprising innovation support organizations such as incubators, hubs, labs, and accelerators as well as research/academia, private sector and public entities, and/or NGOs hosting and supporting youth entrepreneurship and startups.
  • Your project consortium must have at least one innovation support organization as a member, which will also act as the project coordinator.
  • Your project coordinator is a registered legal entity in one of the five SAIS 2 partner countries (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia).

How Benefits

  • A maximum of six (6) projects will be selected pilot testing or validating the proposed solution.
  • Each selected project will receive a SAIS 2 grant of between EUR 30,000 and EUR 50,000 per project, depending of the project budget proposed. The applicant has to provide at least 20% matching funding to counter the SAIS 2 grant (10% cash and 10% in-kind).
  • Selected projects will have a maximum of five (5) months start and finish their project, including the project launch, piloting/validation, and final reporting.
  • Selected projects will have an opportunity to present the solutions and the results to a network of entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem stakeholders, which could lead to new opportunities for the proposed solution.

The innovation challenge call is open from Wednesday, 26 August, to Sunday, 27 September 2020 at 23:59 CAT.

Once you have read the documents above, click here to be taken to the SmartMe Application form or visit

Instructions for signing up and activating your SmartME profile is available in the RE: innovation Guide for Applicants.


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Heri Marco

Highly skilled in tracking details, communicating deadlines, and following up with internal and external stakeholders to ensure on time completion within budget. Ability and interest in learning and incorporating new technology. 

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