South Africa: Five start-ups selected for the Irish Tech Challenge 2023


The five selected for the Irish Tech Challenge South Africa 2023 have been revealed. Now in its second successful year, the challenge seeks to to forge mutually beneficial partnerships between South African entrepreneurs and Irish technology expertise, leveraging Ireland’s global tech hub status.

The completion is a collaboration between The Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and Dogpatch Labs Ireland.

This year’s Challenge saw nearly 300 entries from South African-owned, growth-stage tech startups focused on fulfilling the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The five selected startups have undergone an intensive pre-acceleration programme complete with workshops, masterclasses, and mentorship sessions. The five innovators will now showcase their solutions at a special showcase event to be held at Tshimologong on Tuesday, 21 November 2023.

From there, they will head to Ireland in February 2024 for an acceleration programme with Dogpatch Labs, a 500-member strong startup and innovation hub located in Dublin.

“This initiative showcases the strength of Irish-South African collaboration in technology and innovation. The Irish Tech Challenge South Africa not only highlights Ireland’s commitment to fostering global technological partnerships but also our dedication to supporting emerging entrepreneurs in realizing their potential on the world stage,” said Ambassador of Ireland to South Africa, H.E. Mr. Austin Gormley.

The selected innovators are:

Zoie Health – an all-in-one women’s health and family platform. Created by women for women, Zoie Health provides accessible and comprehensive healthcare services for women and families.

Pelebox – smart locker system that enables patients to collect their repeat chronic medication in under two minutes.

Foonda Africa – a Pan-African talent marketplace that aims to unlock Africa’s next generation of talent. They connect companies with skilled young candidates quickly and affordably. Foonda Africa focuses on graduate recruitment and empowers young individuals across the continent.

AfroBodies – a biotechnology company that produces recombinant alpaca antibodies to supply the local and global life sciences, diagnostic and therapeutic markets. They are advancing scientific research and working together with scientists to make novel discoveries that will lead to new diagnostic tests and disease treatment.

Desert Green – an agritech transforming the informal agri-value chain in Africa by enabling an efficient supply of fresh produce from small-scale farmers to informal traders. GreenKart is their B2B eCommerce platform allowing small-scale farmers to list recently planted crops to help farmers access markets and minimise post-harvest losses.

The Irish Tech Challenge 2023 will award the five selected entrepreneurs up to €10,000 each in funding and a funded trip to Ireland where they will be part of a curated business networking programme with access to the country’s top business leaders. The startups will also get access to the Irish tech ecosystem with potential opportunities for further funding and receive acceleration support to position their global scaling strategy in collaboration with Dogpatch Labs.