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Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations through Start-ups (SAIS) is looking for innovative start-ups that are about to scale rapidly and apply digital solutions to the agriculture and food sector which enable their users to improve their income.

In addition, digital products or services that help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 are a plus and will be taken into special consideration.

‘Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations through Start-ups’ (SAIS) is a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The goal is to support African start-ups in scaling their digital innovations; these innovations should enable users in the agriculture or food sector to increase their income.


Selected start-ups will participate in a nine-month Investment Readiness Programme fully funded by

GIZ-SAIS. The program includes:

1.) Weekly advisory and coaching sessions held virtually during which strategies and measures for rapid growth, product improvement, business and management operations, innovation and scaling are developed and implemented with the start-ups;

2.) Access to additional service providers to optimize certain segments of the start-up (e.g. legal, marketing, coding, etc.);

3.) Integration of the selected start-ups in one of our partner hubs in their home country in order to facilitate their visibility and contact with relevant actors in the local start-up scene;

4.) A virtual kick-off event to start the program, back to back with the SA Innovation Summit 2020, followed by a mid-term check-in early 2021;

5.) A demo-day with investors and business partners will conclude the program in July 2021. Depending on the COVID-19 situation over the course of 2020/21, the mid-term check and the demo-day will possibly have to be shifted into online events.

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6.) Throughout the duration of the program, the SAIS team will facilitate contacts and interactions with potential investors and business partners.

How to apply for and take part in the programme

Online application

a.) Apply online by June 30, 2020 via the application form provided and upload a short pitch video (max. 2 minutes) via an unlisted (i.e. hidden to the public) YouTube link.

b.) The video should clearly convey the problem you are addressing and how your digital product helps to solve it.

c.) Ensure that your pitch video follows the following structure: Problem you are tackling, digital technology you are applying, current number of customers and examples of positive impact on their income, outlook for growth and expectation from the SAIS programme.

Virtual pitch

Based on the mandatory and competitive selection criteria presented above, GIZ-SAIS will pre-select convincing start-ups that will be invited to a virtual pitch:

1.) The virtual pitch event will be held in July 2020, during calendar week 31 (July 27- 31, 2020).

2.) Invitations to the pitch event including your time slot will be sent out by July 20, 2020.

Click here to apply and for more details. 

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