Embassy of Ireland in South Africa
1 March 2022
The Embassy of Ireland in South Africa together with the Department of
Science and Innovation and the Technology Innovation Agency launched a new innovation fund to nurture entrepreneurship and technology
partnerships between South Africa and Ireland.
The Irish Tech Challenge South Africa aims to encourage mutually
beneficial partnerships between leading Irish technology experts and
South African entrepreneurs to support innovation, technology
development, technology deployment and commercialisation in South Africa.
Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Mr Colm Brophy officially launched the fund and affirmed Ireland’s commitment to
supporting technology innovation for economic transformation in South
“The Tech Challenge signals Ireland’s commitment to deepening our trade
and investment relations with South Africa and signals our support for
inclusive economic growth in South Africa, through investment in
education and skills and support for entrepreneurship among women and young people.
“All across South Africa, there is enormous entrepreneurial potential
and creativity, particularly in the tech space. That creativity is particularly vibrant among young entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs,
and you have a dynamic and growing tech ecosystem in this country,”
Minister Brophy stated.
An all-woman panel moderated by Ayanda Allie explored the role of
technology partnerships in economic transformation and the participation of women in tech entrepreneurship.
“Programmes such as these [Irish Tech Challenge South Africa] are very instrumental and having relationships across different countries is an important element of technology partnerships. Some of the challenges that entrepreneurs face are access to markets, access to a network,
access to an eco-system and by creating these cross-country relationships you are opening the market for entrepreneurs to have
customers so that they can grow and scale their businesses,” enthused
panellist member Kwena Mabotja, Global Director of Purpose and Sustainability Marketing at SAP.
Senisha Moonsamy, Head of Department at the Technology Innovation Agency
added, “It’s about really moving from aiding process and giving out
grants to looking at market access and this is the key thing about this
programme. We are not only looking at just funding entrepreneurs and putting them in a programme, we’re looking at moving towards commercialisation and getting the trade aspects right.”
Ambassador of Ireland to South Africa, Fionnuala Gilsenan stated, “We
have designed the Irish Tech Challenge South Africa to focus on
collaboration and to focus on the introduction of young tech entrepreneurs to the Irish eco-system and to look at the possibility of
mentorships. There is a financial element to this, but we are looking at
it as an opportunity to expose young South Africans to the Irish tech
scene and to make those connections with other young tech entrepreneurs.”
The Irish Tech Challenge South Africa will target five majority-owned
South African tech businesses that address the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a particular focus on climate and medical technology solutions. Women and young entrepreneurs from
historically disadvantaged communities are encouraged to apply.
For more application information visit: irishtechchallenge