MTN Group is looking for startups that are either building a sustainable Africa through digital solutions for health, education, agriculture, fintech, energy and IoT, or enabling businesses through digital solutions for religion, sport, news and e-commerce.
The Venture Incubation Programme (VIP) is designed to provide a supportive ecosystem to help startups build viable and scalable innovation-driven companies. Startups have access to a range of resources including co-working space, practical learning clinics, mentors, weekly check-ins and staff advisors, and a community of peers who learn and grow together.
The VIP offers startups several key advantages. We’re located in the heart of the V&A Waterfront, where startups are on the doorstep of Africa’s fastest growing tech hub. We offer proof-of-concept (POC) collaboration opportunities with our industry partner MTN Group and a pool of early-stage investors.
Who Should Apply?
For our current program at the Solution Space Waterfront we are looking for startups that are developing digital solutions across health, education, agriculture, fintech, energy IoT, religion, sport, news and e-commerce.
TEAM OF 2+
We’re not looking for single founders, but teams of at least two with the right balance of skills and ability to build, test and deliver. The founder or majority shareholder must be the lead participant and must have the ability to commit full-time to the programme over the three months.
PROTOTYPE / MVP
Most of our startups enter with some sort of business case, early version of a product and a couple of team members. They have a working prototype with a minimum feature set ready to conduct early-market testing to further establish product and market fit.
OPPORTUNITY & TRACTION
The initial concept development demonstrates deep and intimate understanding of the problem and market need or opportunity. The idea must have progressed beyond concept and should demonstrate evidence of early market testing, customers, revenues, patents or intellectual property filings.
MTN INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP
Selected startups will gain access to MTN APIs, MTN Service Delivery Platform, MTN technical experts and mentors to provide feedback and guidance and a package of support from technology partners.
We apply a learning-by-doing approach. At workshops and clinics, startups learn founder fundamentals and core skills focused on moving the business forward. Startups apply what they learn through practical outcomes from each session.
Access to pro-bono partners and a network of consultants to support with specialist expertise e.g. legal, HR, digital user experience, venture capital.
FEEDBACK & GUIDANCE
Startups receive valuable feedback and guidance from our Entrepreneur-in-Residence and network of experienced mentors and industry partners. Each startup is paired with a mentor for the programme and have access to the Solution Space’s network of GSB alumni and corporate partners.
CO-WORKING & COMMUNITY
We focus on building a vibrant community of entrepreneurs and offer a calendar of regular events designed to increase a startup’s knowledge and expand their network. We prioritize peer learning and mentoring through access to our co-working space and regular office-hours.
How it Works
- Startups submit applications online in January/February and June/July each year, before the initial start date of each Venture Incubation Programme.
PRE-SELECTION DESIGN SPRINT
- The Solution Space team reviews the applications and the top 30 startups are selected to participate in a five-day design sprint to assess the fundamentals of the business and the team.
PITCH TO A SELECTION PANEL
- At the end of the five-day design sprint, successful startups pitch to a final selection panel of corporate partners, early-stage investors, mentors and entrepreneurs.
- The top 10-15 startups are selected to participate in the three-month Venture Incubation Programme and accelerate the development of their digital solution. Startups receive mentorship and training in addition to all the services offered by the Solution Space.