We are happy to announce the 2022 edition of the AGEA Business Idea Competition. Starting from 01 June 2022, the competition will be open to receive registrations and submissions from interested and eligible participants. The details on the competition, the eligibility criteria, how to participate, benefits and other vital information are provided in below.
About the Competition
In developing and sustaining the entrepreneurial orientation in African HEIs, the AGEA works hand in hand with committed academic and business partners in Africa and Germany to promote practice-oriented entrepreneurship education and the establishment of start-ups in Africa. To achieve this goal, the AGEA Business Idea Competition is organised to facilitate the development of research-based start-ups as spinoffs of African universities.
The AGEA Business Idea Competition 2022 is an opportunity to expose the entrepreneurial potential in African universities as seen in some universities in Europe, e.g. Leipzig University in Germany. In this light, novel knowledge and technological innovations can be exploited to provide employment opportunities, making academic entrepreneurship a vibrant part of development and growth, especially in regions with high levels of unemployment. As expected, participants will harness their skills in sustainable business development with the resources they will be provided and thus encourage entrepreneurial activities within the academic and scientific community at African HEIs. That increases the capabilities of researchers and members of faculty to transfer their knowledge and technologies from the laboratories and shelves into viable business products and services for the market.
The AGEA Business Idea Competition 2022 will comprise four (4) main stages: 1) Registration and submission of business ideas; 2) Evaluation and selection of top 6 ideas; 3) Pitch training, development of top six ideas pitches; 4) Production of promotional videos for top 6 ideas.
This year, the final event will be held as part of the 30th Anniversary celebration of the SEPT Competence Center at the Leipzig University on 20 September 2022. The event will host in-person and virtual participants consisting of lecturers, researchers, professors, PhD students, alumni and other stakeholders from partner universities and countries.
Purpose and Scope
The main objective of the AGEA Business Idea Competition 2022 is to build start-ups from scientific university research outcomes. In doing so, university professors, students (masters and PhD), faculty, alumni, and entrepreneurs can transform their scientific university research into university spin-offs and start-up businesses. As current research highlights the importance of commercializing knowledge from academia, the community of HEIs in Africa has the opportunity to unearth their entrepreneurial abilities by building start-ups that provide sustainable solutions to pressing challenges in all sectors of an economy.
The expectant result of the business idea competition is to enhance entrepreneurial skills development, business formation and further provide resources that make the setting up and smooth running of a start-up feasible. In our recent success story, the AGEA Business Idea Competition 2021 participants were given further entrepreneurial training through the AGEA Start-Up Class 2022 to master in-depth managerial and operational skills to enhance the sustainability of their start-ups.
More information about AGEA Start-up Class: AGEA Start-up Class
AGEA Business Idea Competition 2022 is open to submissions from all sectors of the economy. The focal areas include but are not limited to health, education, agriculture, information technology, finance and commerce, enterprise development and trade, transport, water, and sanitation, among others. Applicants should be mindful that the submitted ideas should suggest sustainable solutions to real-world challenges that satisfy a market need, specifically in Africa or beyond.
The Competition Stages and Timelines
|Stage 1: Registration and Submission of Ideas|
Opening of registration and submission portals.
|01 June – 15 July 2022|
|Stage 2: Evaluation and Selection of the top six (6) ideas|
18 July – 8 August 2022
10 August 2022
|Stage 3: Pitch Training and Development of Pitch Videos for top six (6) ideas||15 August 2022|
|Stage 4: Preparation and Submission of Pitch Videos of top six (6) ideas||15 August – |
9 September 2022
|The final event||20 September 2022|
Who can participate?
- Academic staff (lecturers, professors), Students (Master and PhD) and Researchers from universities, research institutions, and other HEIs in Africa.
- Early-stage entrepreneurs who are university alumni can also participate in the competition as team members with students or researchers at universities, research institutions, and other HEIs in Africa.
- The team must have at least one team member who is either a student (master or PhD), academic staff, or researcher with scientific research.
- Each unique idea must be registered once for the competition by either a team or an individual.
- You must provide evidence of the research conducted as the basis of your business idea. The research must be conducted by the team or at least one team member.
- To satisfy the above condition, any of the following documents will be sufficient:
- Title and Declaration pages of Masters or PhD thesis indicating the person who conducted the research at the university.
- Research published in a journal by the researcher(s). Copyright issues must be clarified in this case.
- Other relevant proofs can be submitted for consideration.
- To facilitate the management and evaluation of the ideas, the language required to participate in the competition is English. Participants from non-English speaking countries should use translation tools such as DeepL or Google Translator to help them present their applications in English.
- The participation of women is highly encouraged. Teams are motivated to involve women as team members where possible.
If you or your team meet the above requirements, you are highly encouraged to participate in the AGEA Business Idea Competition 2022 and stand a chance of winning the top prize and receive support from business development experts and coaches to build a viable business start-up project.
How to participate
Eligible and interested individuals and teams should first register using the Registration Portal online.
Please click on the Register Now button below for the first registration step and provide brief information about team members and the business idea to be submitted to the competition.
After successful registration, you will receive a confirmation email with further instructions on the next steps to complete your application using the Innovation platform.
Please make sure that the information provided is correct and valid as all information provided will be verified with the university or institution as part of the competition process.
How to use the Innovation Platform (Innolytics)
The next step involves submitting detailed information about the business idea. You should diligently follow the structure provided in our innovation management portal – Innolytics. The platform is set up to facilitate and guide participants to provide the jury with the needed information for evaluating the ideas.
Please prepare the following 5 key information in advance to be used for the Innolytics portal.
- Describe the underpinning research conducted and the business idea generated from the research results.
- Problem: What is the main challenge your business idea seeks to solve? Why is the issue a problem?
- Solution (product/service): Based on your research results, how are you planning to solve the problem? Provide a vivid description of the product or service and how the product will solve the identified problem. Include photos or videos of the product model or prototype in the submission if available. What makes your solution unique from competitors or current solutions?
- Customers and Market Opportunities: Clearly define who the customers of the solution are. What is the market potential of your idea? How will your business idea generate revenue from this customer segment?
- Resources: What key resources are required to develop and introduce your business idea to the market?
Below is an introductory step-by-step Video Guide on using the Innolytics Platform.
Winners of the competition will be awarded the following prizes:
- 1st prize – €1,000
- 2nd prize – €500
- 3rd prize – €300
- An audience award with a prize of €500 will also be given. The audience award is presented to the idea that receives the highest votes from the participating audience at the Final Event. The details of the online voting channel will be communicated later.
- Certificate of Achievement will be issued to individuals or teams that get into the Top 6 of the competition.
In addition to the cash prizes, post-competition support is available to all innovative and promising ideas that participate in the competition. Regardless of whether an idea wins an award or not, innovative idea identified will be eligible to benefit from these resources. The following support will be extended to teams or individuals that will be selected based on their innovative ideas.
- Incubation Support: Identified promising and market viable innovative ideas will be provided with incubation support for commercialization. This will be implemented through the network of AGEA partners in Africa and Germany. The incubators include the Centre for Business Development – Kumasi Business Incubator at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana, INES Incubation Centre at INES-Ruhengeri Institute of Applied Sciences in Rwanda, Mount Kenya University Innovation Hub in Kenya, and the Self-Management Initiative Leipzig (SMILE) at Leipzig University.
- Coaching and Mentoring: Ideas will be matched to international business development experts within the AGEA Network who will serve as coaches and mentors. The coaches and mentors will work with the individuals or teams to transform the ideas into worth investing business models and business plans.
- Training: Specialized knowledge and skills are required to manage start-ups successfully. Therefore, tailored training sessions will be organized for the teams to provide the knowledge, skills and tools needed to manage the start-up. This training will be delivered in collaboration with SMILE, which has over the past 15 years supported over 600 start-ups in Germany and more than €42.5 million in funding support for start-ups. Also, external experts will be invited to provide comprehensive training when needed.
- Support for funding applications: Selected ideas will have access to the vast experience and expertise available within AGEA to support their application for further funding from funding institutions in Germany and elsewhere.
- Support for Intellectual Property (IP) related issues: In case an idea requires a patent to prevent others from using, replicating, or selling without permission, the AGEA network can provide the necessary legal rights proceedings to patent your idea.