VentureBurn Pitching Den

Come to the  Market on the Edge, our exhibition area,  on 22 & 23 September 2016 at the Birchwood Hotel to see the pitchers in action and learn how tough it is to sell your concept to a panel of judges. Click here to buy your ticket for  Market on the Edge.



The VentureBurn Pitching Den Competition is a platform for HIGH GROWTH and START-UP (EMERGING) companies to pitch their business to a well-rounded panel of judges. In this way, the SA Innovation Summit celebrates emerging companies with tech-enabled solutions spanning across all industries. This competition category aims to encourage companies with the best growth potential to become market leaders, and to inspire future entrepreneurs and start-ups.

True success requires vision and leadership, financial accomplishment, strategic direction and innovation. This competition is designed to recognise and honour entrepreneurs and companies whose innovative tech-enabled solutions will have a significant impact on the growth of the African continent.

The SA Innovation Summit acknowledges the entrepreneurs and companies that have best demonstrated the conceptualisation and/or the commercialisation of a tech-enabled solution and are on a viable growth path for national and/or international expansion.

Selected entrants will pitch at the SA Innovation Summit to an independent panel of judges.  The top up-and-coming entrepreneurs, start-ups and high growth companies will be considered for the SA Innovation Summit Competition prizes. The presentations will be evaluated based on specific criteria which will include innovation, financial performance and strategic direction. The overall winners will be announced at the SA Innovation Summit Award ceremony.

Prizes and Opportunities

The pitching sessions will allow entrepreneurs and companies to stand a chance to win SA Innovation Summit Competition prizes:
  • Stand a chance to win an overseas trip to meet international investors in Europe
  • Showcase their technologies / ideas to a wider audience
  • Get PR exposure up to the value of R 200 000 (If a winner)
  • Obtain access to funds and acceleration support (the judges will commit to second interviews if the pitches are of interest)
  • Tap into different markets (the audience will watch to make connections)
  • Have access to technical expertise (advisers, IP specialists & venture capitalists)
  • Get access to the Match and Invest Lounge, where key funders will be available for consultation (We put together a high impact group that would otherwise take years to identify and pitch to).
R50 000 for the best Social Innovation
SAB Foundation
 Intellectual Property advice
Spoor & Fisher
 Visit to Finland to attend SLUSH events
Up to R1m for early  learning innovations
More about the prize sponsored by Tekes

Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland, works with the top innovative companies and research units in Finland. Every year, Tekes finances some 1,500 business research and development projects, and almost 600 public research projects at universities, research institutes and universities of applied sciences.

Research, development and innovation funding is targeted to projects that create in the long-term the greatest benefits for the economy and society. Tekes does not derive any financial profit from its activities, nor claim any intellectual proprietary rights.

BEAM – Business with Impact – a development innovation funding programme backed by TEKES, is sponsoring a prize for the winner of the Pitching Den, consisting of:

  • 1 x return air ticket Johannesburg-Helsinki-Johannesburg
  • Accommodation for 6 nights in Helsinki (Sunday 27 November -Saturday, 3 December 2016), Hotel TBC
  • 1 x Ticket to SLUSH Impact and SLUSH events

The approximate value of this prize is R40,000.

The package does not include:

  • per diem or any other daily allowance
  • local travels

Tekes will collaborate with Slush, a European start-up and innovation event, to offer the winner as much exposure as possible. Slush connects startups and tech talent with top-tier international investors, executives and media. In 2015, Slush brought together 15,000 attendees from a hundred countries for the two-day event in Helsinki. It is one of the leading start-up events in Europe.

Up to R1m for Early Learning Innovations

The Innovation Edge will once again be partnering with the South African Innovation Summit this year, following a successful collaboration in 2015.

The Innovation Edge is a social innovation platform dedicated to early learning in South Africa.  When children access quality learning early in life, the whole of society benefits.  The Innovation Edge works to find radical solutions to give children under age 6 who live in poor communities a fair start in life.

At SAIS 2016, the Innovation Edge will be on the search for early learning innovations and will offer up to R1 million in funding, as well as additional support such as incubation bootcamps, to brave ideas with the potential to change the early life experiences of children.


SA Innovation Summit Brings Startup World Cup to South Africa

Startup World Cup is partnering with SA Innovation Summit in its Ventureburn Pitching Den to host its first ever South African regional competition.

Startup World Cup is a global conference and competition with the goal of bridging startup ecosystems worldwide. There will be 16 regional events across North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia, leading up to the Grand Finale in US Silicon Valley. This is the first ever event of its type, organized by Fenox Venture Capital, a Silicon Valley-based multinational VC firm.

The winner of the SA Innovation Summit Pitching Den competition will represent South Africa at the Startup World Cup Grand Finale and will compete alongside 15 other startups from all over the world for a chance to win a US $1,000,000 prize in investment. To enter, go to:

Who is eligible?

Entries are restricted to private or public high-growth tech-enabled companies that:

  • Are either controlled or headquartered on the African continent;
  • Have their management team and R&D activities located on the African continent;
  • Own proprietary technology or have intellectual property that contributes to a significant portion of operating revenue; and
  • Provide technology-enabled solutions spanning across ANY industry. Particular areas of interest include software and cloud-based solutions, big data, cyber security, fintech, nanotech, biotech and agri-food processing.

Competition Criteria

To be eligible to enter, the business needs to comply with at least three of the following criteria:

1. Be in the Start-up to 100 000 000 ZAR business space.
2. Must have a unique IP of technology solution
3. Demonstrate high growth potential or increasing market share.
4. Demonstrate scalability.
5. Be close to achieving break-even or profitability.
6. Have national or international expansion plans with a high level of commitment by your shareholders and management team.

Terms and Conditions

  • You can enter as an individual, group or a company.
  • The Intellectual Property should belong to you or your company and you should be able to supply proof of ownership on request.
  • This competition officially starts on 15 April 2016 and closes on 21 August 2016 (date extended).
  • You can pitch more than once for different entries.
  • Only entries received online will be accepted.
  • The SA Innovation Summit reserves the right, by its sole discretion, not to accept entries or to disqualify entries at any stage should it transpire that such entries have been made by illegitimate, suspicious, and/or unqualified participants.
  • Winners will be chosen by a qualified appointed judging panel. Judges for round one and round two will differ. The judging panel’s decision is final.
  • Where applicable: The Pitching Den is a non-confidential competition and the full responsibility lies with entrants themselves to protect their concepts through any means. Your concepts will be viewed in public and by many different audiences in order for you to make connections. It is therefore important to be compelling about what you do and how you will be sustainable without divulging your know- how in terms of recipes, formulas, code, knowledge or other means.

Intellectual Property and why it is important

  • Please note that the information contained in your submission is not confidential and not protected. You are therefore advised not to submit any information deemed to be confidential.
  • By entering the competition you confirm that you are the rightful proprietor of any intellectual property underlying the invention, and that you are entitled to disclose the invention to the public.
  • Entrants are therefore advised to take the necessary steps to protect their intellectual property before such disclosure.

For more information, innovators can contact Lodewyk Cilliers at Spoor & Fisher:

Instructions to submit your entry

  1. Click on the button below
  2. Complete the application form
  3. Submit your application
  4. A confirmation of receipt of your entry will be emailed to you.  If you have not received it within 48 hours, please contact us.

The Venture Burn Pitching Den competition is now closed.
Watch this space to enter the competition in 2017! Hope to see you at the 2016 SA Innovation Summit.

Contact us

For any competition inquiries contact us at


Phone +27 82 708 1960