BOOST UP series 2020 winners announced

By Business Reporter

THE BOOST UP Series 2020 has concluded after its final pitch event where the winners were announced.

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.

In Namibia, the BOOST UP Programme is supported by the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) and the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS 2), with assistance from Namibian Connected Hubs network members the Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII), GEN Namibia, UNDP Accelerator Lab and Dololo Operations.

Three Namibian startups namely Agelvipa Online, Connect-Africa and Coachpedia formed part of the 18 regional startups from the five partner countries contesting for the BOOST UP 2020 final pitch competition that took place last Friday.

The prizes that were up for grabs are the main prize – a trip to Finland for two team members of the winning startup to meet with relevant Finnish innovation ecosystem role players, sponsored by Demola Global. The top three received US$5 000 in Amazon Web Services (AWS) credits sponsored by AWS Activate. There was also a slush prize for the best startup in each country granting access to Node by SLUSH, an international investment matchmaking platform. Lastly there was a Think Africa prize, a package of prizes ranging from books to an online consultation and assumption testing session offered to the startup that best embodies Think Africa’s values.

The main prize went to Dawa Health from Zambia, a platform offering remote and self-monitoring maternal health services to expecting mothers, providing them access to medical care at this crucial time. The AWS top three prizes went to Dawa Health from Zambia, Huduma Smart from Tanzania, and Nature’s Nectar from Zambia. The best start-ups in each country were: Agelvipa from Namibia, Doctors E-Consult from Botswana, SOG Water Solutions from South Africa, Dawa Health from Zambia, Huduma Smart from Tanzania (which also won the Think Africa Prize).

Due to travel restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the BOOST UP 2020 final pitching competition was hosted as an online event that was broadcasted live from the five partner countries. A panel comprising of judges from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Finland scored the startups based on their pitches, and they selected the overall winner.