Startups & Ideas

Irish Tech Challenge 2024 Ignites Innovation in South Africa

The Irish Tech Challenge 2024, aimed at fostering innovative partnerships between South African and Irish startups, was recently officially launched as part of an initiative to strengthen the technological ties between the two nations.

This year’s Tech Challenge seeks to accelerate the growth of tech startups in South Africa, focusing on sectors such as clean technology, healthcare, education, and water sanitation. It has expanded to include more participants, with seven startups set to receive benefits including €10,000 in grant funding, a business acceleration trip to Ireland, access to top tech expertise, and governmental support.

As the Irish Tech Challenge 2024 begins, it promises to be a catalyst for innovation and collaboration in South Africa, focusing on sustainability, social impact, and economic development. The application period is now open, with an information session planned for early April.

For more information and to apply, interested parties can visit

This initiative is a collaboration involving the Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), the Technology Innovation Agency, and implementing partners from Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Precinct and Dogpatch Labs in Ireland.

The launch event, held at Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, spotlighted the commitment to deepening the trade and investment relations through the promotion of entrepreneurship, especially among women and young people from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. The challenge aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals, aiming for inclusive economic growth through technology and innovation.

Hesus Inoma of Dogpatch Labs emphasized the challenge’s role in propelling businesses onto the international stage, presenting a significant opportunity for growth and recognition within the global tech community.

The initiative has been warmly received within the South African innovation ecosystem. Prof. Zeblon Vilakazi, Vice Chancellor of Wits University, stressed the university’s role in fostering innovation and supporting startup growth through initiatives like the Tech Challenge.

The launch highlighted the crucial role of collaboration between governments, academia, and the private sector in driving innovation and economic growth. It showcased the Irish Tech Challenge as a vital platform for startups to thrive.

Ms. Anneline Morgan from the DSI expressed enthusiasm for the challenge, emphasizing the commitment to fostering innovation and driving technological advancement. She highlighted the importance of collaboration in addressing the socio-economic challenges through science and innovation, encouraging participants to leverage this opportunity for the benefit of both countries.

Emphasizing diversity and inclusivity, the challenge encourages participation from underrepresented groups, aiming to create a more equitable tech ecosystem.

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