BOOST UP 2021 for Tech Startups in Southern Africa

BOOST UP 2021 for Tech Startups in Southern Africa

Deadline: June 6, 2021

Are you a startup entrepreneur? Do you want to learn how to better pitch your business and make it more investable? Does your startup use technology and innovation to make a social impact in your community and beyond? Are you based in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, or Zambia? Apply for BOOST UP 2021 for a chance to take your startup to the next level.

BOOST UP is a three-part startup support program organised by the Connected Hubs network and the Southern Africa Innovation Support Program (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 pitch their businesses and become investment-ready. The BOOST UP series comprises the Set Up online training events, Stand Up pitching competitions, and Scale Up incubation program and bootcamp.

Program Details

  • BOOST UP Set Up: 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.
  • BOOST UP Stand Up: 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 pitch competitions. Connected Hubs representatives will select startups in each country from the Set Up participants that completed the training and invite them to pitch at Stand Up. At the pitch competitions, a panel of expert judges will select the top startups to advance to interviews. After interviews, the most promising startups will be selected to take part in BOOST UP Scale Up.
  • BOOST UP Scale Up: BOOST UP Scale Up is an incubation program for impact-driven startups eager to become more investable. Scale Up includes an online incubation program (September–November) and an on-site bootcamp in Helsinki, Finland, in November–December.


You to apply for the BOOST UP Set Up training if:

  • Your startup is a registered business located in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, or Zambia.
  • Technology and innovation play a key role in your business model to address a societal challenge in Southern Africa. “Technology and innovation” here includes, but is not limited to:
    • Applications
    • Internet of Things
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Drone technology
    • Renewable Energy and Circular Economy
    • Smart City/Smart Environment
    • Big Data
    • Communications (e.g. internet connectivity services)
    • Anything that uses technology and innovation to improve a product or service in any way.
  • You have a scalable business model.
  • You are developing or finalising a prototype, or have a prototype ready.
  • Your startup has a minimum of two team members interested in participating.
  • You/your startup have not won a SAIS 2-associated national pitch competition and participated in the BOOST UP Bootcamp in 2020 or 2019, Slush Global Impact Accelerator 2018, or been sponsored by SAIS 2 to participate in Slush 2017.

Note: applications from female-led startups are particularly encouraged.


With the application form, your startup can apply for the BOOST UP Set Up training. The Stand Up national pitch competition participants will be selected from amongst the startups participating in the Set Up training.

Application for the BOOST UP Set Up 2021 will close on June 6, 2021.

Click here to apply

For more information, visit BOOST UP.