BOOST UP is a three-part startup support programme organised by the Connected Hubs network and the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS 2) in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia. BOOST UP targets startups that use technology to solve a societal challenge and are looking for skills that could help them articulate their business. The BOOST UP series comprises the Set Up online training events, Stand Up pitching competitions, and Scale Up incubation programme.
BOOST UP Set Up training provides entrepreneurs with practical tools to package their business idea and develop a pitch to attract their target market. The Set Up training is organised separately in each of the BOOST UP countries: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.
At BOOST UP Stand Up, committed startups who are eager to make an impact, have a scalable business model, and want to become more investable will compete in national pitching competitions. Connected Hubs representatives will select about 10 startups per country from the Set Up participants that completed the training, and invite them to pitch at Stand Up. At the pitching competitions, a panel of expert judges will select the top startups to advance to interviews. After interviews, one to two promising startups per country will be selected to take part in the BOOST UP Scale Up incubator.
BOOST UP Scale Up is an incubation programme for impact-driven startups eager to become more investable. Scale Up includes an online incubation programme (September–November) and an on-site bootcamp in Helsinki, Finland, in November*.
In the event that the Covid-19 crisis prevents travelling and/or organising the Bootcamp, an alternative plan will be considered.
Note: applications from female-led startups were particularly encouraged.
To be selected to pitch, a startup will be required to:
In addition, the participants must be 18 years or above. Alternatively, if they are under 18 and selected to participate in the Scale Up incubator and Bootcamp, they must be accompanied by their guardian. The guardian will be responsible for her/his own travel costs.
This is how we make the selection:
These exciting startups participated in BOOST UP Bootcamp and Slush 2019.
Take a look at this brochure for more information on BOOST UP Bootcamp, the startups, the Slush side event Investing and Partnering with African Innovators, and the implementation and knowledge partners.
In 2018, SAIS 2 partnered with the Slush Global Impact Accelerator to select one promising startup per SAIS partner country. These five start-ups are all young enterprises solving a societal problem in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The startups joined Slush GIA to gain insight in topics ranging from pitching to investor relationships as well as business and product development.
In 2017, SAIS 2 piloted cross-border collaboration with Botswana Innovation Hub and Fablab Namibia. The three organisations supported two startups from Namibia and three from Botswana to attend Slush 2017 in Helsinki with hub managers. The five startups took part in a two-month incubator programme with coaching sessions on pitching, business mentoring, and product development.