The Irish Tech Challenge South Africa, a collaboration between the Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), and Impact Amplifier, was officially opened on 24 February 2022 by Colm Brophy, Minister for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora in the Government of Ireland. The challenge is still inviting those interested for applications before they close on 5 April 2022.

The Tech Challenge is keen to accelerate high-potential tech entrepreneurs in South Africa who are ready to scale globally and enhance their impact but face challenges such as limited resources and lack of access to the appropriate global networks and infrastructure.

"This is a dividend, and if exploited appropriately, as a continent we can expedite our progress that would otherwise not have been possible.  We look forward to seeing some of the successful young tech entrepreneurs ploughing back and ensuring that our system is able to grow," said Dr Mlungisi Cele, Acting Head of the National Advisory Council on Innovation.

Opportunity for South African startups

Over the years you wouldn't be mistaken for thinking that South Africa's startup ecosystem lags behind those of Nigeria and Kenya given the amount of attention, funding, and programmes that go on in the two countries' ecosystems. It is thus refreshing to hear of a programme looking to uplift South African tech startups.

With the Tech Challenge, it is said that South Africa's technology companies have an opportunity to gain international exposure and access to global markets according to organizers of the Irish Tech Challenge South Africa.

Up to five tech entrepreneurs will embark on a fully funded 10-day curated business networking programme in Ireland, one of the world's fastest-growing tech hubs, where they will access the expertise of Irish tech leaders, get the opportunity to build their networks in Ireland, Europe and South Africa, and receive funding support of up to €10 000 each.

"We see a great opportunity for partnerships in sectors that support economic and social progress, such as clean-tech, agri-tech, med-tech and education-tech. We also see an opportunity in the Tech Challenge to engage with our diaspora communities, working in the tech sector in both Ireland and South Africa," said Colm Brophy, Minister for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora in the Government of Ireland.

Mutually beneficial partnerships

The Irish Tech Challenge South Africa aims to create mutually beneficial partnerships between Irish tech expertise and South African tech entrepreneurs to help drive innovation, job creation, and inclusive economic growth in South Africa

"Within this trend is the belief that technology, innovation and entrepreneurship can have a profound impact on the economic transformation of a country. TIA, through its Enterprise Development and GCIP Unit, has collaborated with the Embassy of Ireland and the DSI in developing the Irish Tech Challenge South Africa to enable our most talented and impactful tech entrepreneurs," concluded Senisha Moonsamy, Head of Innovation Skills Development at TIA.

For more information and to apply, visit

— By Tefo Mohapi

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