SMEs and Ventures

APPLY: The GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Programme 2020 for young African Entrepreneurs

Application Deadline: June 30th 2020

GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Programme 2020

SAIS is looking for innovative start-ups that are about to scale rapidly and apply digital solutions to the agriculture and food sector which enable their users to improve their income. In addition, digital products or services that help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 are a plus and will be taken into special consideration

GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Programme 2020 for young African Entrepreneurs

Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations through Start-ups’ (SAIS) is a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The goal is to support African start-ups in scaling their digital innovations; these innovations should enable users in the agriculture or food sector to increase their income.


Selected start-ups will participate in a nine-month Investment Readiness Programme fully funded by
GIZ-SAIS. The program includes:

  • Weekly advisory and coaching sessions held virtually during which strategies and measures for rapid growth, product improvement, business and management operations, innovation and scaling are developed and implemented with the start-ups;
  • Access to additional service providers to optimize certain segments of the start-up (e.g. legal, marketing, coding, etc.);
  • Integration of the selected start-ups in one of our partner hubs in their home country in order to facilitate their visibility and contact with relevant actors in the local start-up scene;
  • A virtual kick-off event to start the program, back to back with the SA Innovation Summit 2020, followed by a mid-term check-in early 2021;
  • A demo-day with investors and business partners will conclude the program in July 2021. Depending on the COVID-19 situation over the course of 2020/21, the mid-term check and the demo-day will possibly have to be shifted into online events.

Throughout the duration of the program, the SAIS team will facilitate contacts and interactions with potential investors and business partners.


You can apply if your innovation is listed in one of the following categories or technologies


Digital storytellingeLearningPrecision farming
Access to marketAccess to financeDigital payment
Supply chain managementFood deliveryAnimal and crops health
Soil fertilityLogistic and transporte-commerce
GamificationBig dataData analysis
Open dataData protectionData security
CybersecurityCrowdsourcingBuilding digital expertise for
farmers (eSkills, eLiteracy)


Internet of thingsBig data analysis systemsSMS-services
Virtual /augmented reality3D-printerRobotics
Apps programsDatabaseBlockchain
MonitoringSocial mediaWeb platforms
GIS (Geo-Information Systems)/MappingArtificial intelligence (AI)Controlling systems
Digital learning software
(eLearning system, MOOC
platforms, open educational resources)
Precision farming (chipcards,
sensors, drones/ remote sensing system)
systems (IMS)

Selection Criteria

Mandatory criteria

  • Legal representation
    • The start-up must be registered and operating in at least one African country.
  • Team
    • The start-up must have a team of at least two people.
    • The management team must be highly motivated and work at the business ideally full-time time.
  • Digital product
    • The start-up needs to have a viable digital product with a clear positive impact on its users’ income.
    • The product must be aligned with one of the digital technologies listed below.
  • Access to market and traction
    • The start-up must have launched its digital product at least six months ago and provide evidence of good traction as well as existing processes that need to be performed.

Competitive criteria

  • Business model
    • The start-up should have an easily understandable and very convincing business model (clear problem statement, clear digital solution, clear customer segment and clear revenues stream).
  • Customer data
    • The start-up should have access to customer data via its digital solution (number of customers and gender); if this is not the case, building customer databases will be one of the first development measures if the start-up is selected for the IRP.
  • Level of innovation
    • Innovative and disruptive solutions will be regarded as an asset.  Solutions that help mitigate the impact of Covid-19 will be taken into special consideration

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Programme 2020

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