Science Idea & Startup Showcase

Transforming seemingly impossible ideas into world-shaping companies.

Do you have an idea with commercial potential?

Do you have an awesome existing business?

We want to hear about your science-based solution and give you the chance to win a share of almost $ 7 000 in prize money, a spot in one of SU LaunchLab’s incubation programs, and more!

Humanity faces unprecedented challenges. But nowhere else are we more resolved to solving those challenges, than right here in Africa. Stellenbosch University LaunchLab believes that the sciences hold the keys to a brighter future for Africa which is why it is hosting a science-themed startup and idea showcase in partnership with the University of Stellenbosch Science Faculty and Alphawave.

The Science Showcase will spotlight 8 – 10 of the best commercialisable ideas and existing businesses from across the continent focused on providing science-based solutions for African challenges. The winning teams will gain access to valuable prize money, mentoring sessions, focused workshops, and a spot in the September 2021 cohort of Countdown, SU LaunchLab’s flagship incubation program.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for entrepreneurs with commercializable ideas or existing businesses that provide science-based solutions to African challenges in the following fields:

  • Physical sciences – physics, chemistry, earth, and space
  • Life sciences – biochemistry, microbiology, zoology, botany, ecology
  • Applied sciences – engineering, medicine
  • Computer sciences
  • Mathematics

If your science-based solution is suitable for the Showcase you will fit the following eligibility criteria for either category:

For Existing Businesses:
  • You are operating in Africa
  • You have a science-based solution to address an African challenge*
  • You have an MVP and/or are selling
  • You have at least one full-time team member
  • You have been working on your venture for more than 6 months
  • Willing to enter SU LL’s flagship Countdown program’s September cohort (8-week course)
For Idea-stage Solutions:
  • You are situated in Africa
  • You have a science-based and commercializable idea that would address an African challenge*
  • Willing to enter SU LL’s flagship Countdown program’s September cohort (8-week course)

*The challenge does not have to be unique to Africa but must be encountered in Africa

How it works

1. Deadline: Submit your ideas online by 23:59 on Sunday, 29 August 2021.

2. Shortlisting: After all the submissions are received, the top participants will be shortlisted, and from that, we will select 8 – 10 finalists.

3. Virtual pitching event:
Shortlisted participants will pitch to a panel of judges, potential investors, and an audience at a live event via Zoom on 21 September 2021 from 14:00 – 16:30 SAST. Every team will have 4 minutes to pitch and the judges will have 4 minutes to present questions.


The judging panel may consist of nominees from:
  • SU Science Faculty
  • Alphawave
  • SU LaunchLab Science Partners


The judges’ scoring will be based on the following criteria*:

*Sub bullet points are meant to serve as a guide for applicants – not exhaustive.

Finalists stand the chance to win:


Virtual pitching event date & time: 21 September 2021 at 14:00 – 16:30 SAST.

If you have an innovative Science business, submit your application now!



August 29, 2021
Organizer Stellenbosch University LaunchLab
Website Visit website
Targets Africa
Sectors Sector agnostic