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Awakening the entrepreneurial spirit in every SU student

“... every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange.” - Peter Thiel

The Innovation Showdown is a competition where students can enter their existing businesses or business ideas to win cash, other prizes, bragging rights and a trophy for the most innovative and entrepreneurial student residence or private student organisation (PSO).

How it works

Entries are open from 11 April and close at 23:59 on 30 April 2022. You may enter alone or as a team.

There are four categories for entry:

Innovative Business Idea

A business idea that has not been put into operation and thus is not generating revenue

Existing Business:
Social Impact

A business that is already operating and is aimed at having positive impact on social challenges and injustice

Existing Business:

A business that is already operating and provides a digital technical service, product or platform, or which relies heavily on such digital technology to generate revenue

Existing Business:

A business that is already operating and is not a Social Impact or Tech business as defined here

Students may enter multiple ideas or businesses in multiple categories but will only be able to take one idea or business through to the final.

Once all entries are received, the top participants will be shortlisted and two representatives for each residence and PSO will be selected.

Shortlisted participants will attend 3 workshops with SU LaunchLab to develop their entrepreneurial skills, help them grow their business and prepare for the Innovation Showdown:

  • 5 May - Design thinking

  • 12 May - Business model canvas

  • 21 July - Pitching your idea or business

The Showdown - finalists will pitch their businesses and ideas to a panel of judges in front of a live audience at a hybrid event on 11 August 2022 from 14:00 - 17:00 SAST. Each team will have 3 minutes to pitch their business or idea to the judging panel, followed by 3 minutes of questions from the judges.


Each of the four category winners gets:

R 5000 cash

1 hour business mentorship with SU LaunchLab

The residence or PSO that has the highest scoring entries in the final Showdown wins a trophy for Most Innovative Residence / PSO and the bragging rights that go with it!

Who can participate?

All persons entering the Innovative Business Idea category (either as individuals or in teams) must be registered Stellenbosch University students. 

Business entered under the three Existing Business categories must be owned 50% or more by registered Stellenbosch University students. 

All entrants must indicate which residence or PSO they represent. If a team is comprised of members that are from more than one residence or PSO, the team must select only one residence or PSO to represent in the competition. 

Ready to win?

Prepare your business to take on significant external capital

Execute the fundraise with you as a trusted advisor 

What we do for our entrepreneurs

Assist in making the critical executive hires necessary to deploy capital

We're focused on tangible outcomes

Startups don't need talk; they need proactive action to be successful.

Climate Lab executes on defined deliverables to drive growth.


We develop a report with key strategic insights and opportunities to share with stakeholders, investors and ambassadors.


The report serves as the foundation for business building support. 


Startups are in a race against time between product-market-fit and runway. A clear, usable, actionable financial model is not only a must for raising investment but also provides the leadership team with a clear path to success. 

Every team receives a world class model based on their unique operations and objectives. 

Professional Pitch Deck & Training 

A pitch deck is the ideal format to clearly articulate the key aspects of the customer problem, business model, team and milestones.


Every startup will be pitch perfect through training and employing data driven story telling.   

Expert-Led Deliverables

We utilise our robust network of seasoned, experienced experts to help our teams make creative mistakes.

Our Experts work directly with teams in 4-6 week sprints with a clear deliverable as determined through the Diagnostic Report. 

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Low Carbon

Africa has an unique opportunity to embrace a low carbon economy while it grows at an increasing rate. Business models that support this sustainable transition include energy efficiency, carbon marketplaces, clean cookstoves, smart metres, food tech and plant based solutions.

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