AGEA Business Idea Competition 2023

We are happy to announce the 2023 edition of the AGEA Business Idea Competition. The competition will accept registrations and entries from interested and qualified participants beginning on 12 April 2023. 

The details on the competition, the eligibility criteria, how to participate, benefits and other vital information are provided in below.

About the Competition

The African German Entrepreneurship Academy (AGEA) collaborates closely with committed academic and business partners in Africa and Germany to advance practice-oriented entrepreneurship education and the creation of start-ups in Africa to build and sustain the entrepreneurial orientation at African HEIs. To achieve this goal, the AGEA Business Idea Competition is a channel to promote innovative start-up ideas and projects from African universities (mainly research-based).

The main objective of the AGEA Business Idea Competition is to identify innovative business ideas generated from academic/scientific research results from which spinoff start-ups can be developed. 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. Current research highlights the importance of commercialising knowledge from academia. Therefore, HEIs in Africa are encouraged to take the opportunity to unearth their entrepreneurial abilities by building start-ups that provide sustainable solutions to pressing challenges in all sectors of the economy.

The AGEA Business Idea Competition 2023 offers students, lecturers and researchers the chance to showcase the entrepreneurial potential in African universities, as observed in some European universities, e.g. Leipzig University in Germany. In this context, knowledge and technological innovations can be exploited for economic and social gains, making academic entrepreneurship an important contributor to growth and development in Africa. Participants will harness their skills in sustainable business development with the resources they will be provided, encouraging entrepreneurial activities within the academic and scientific community at African universities. This increases the capabilities of students, researchers, and faculty members 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 2023 comprises four (4) main stages:

  • Registration and submission of business ideas
  • Evaluation and selection of Top 6 ideas
  • Preparing pitch videos for the Top 6 ideas
  • Final event to select and announce the 3 winners

The final event for the competition will be held on 01 August 2023 as part of the ACCESS Employability Conference, which will be held in Abuja, Nigeria, from 31 July – 2 August 2023. It will be held in a blended format (in-person and virtually) with participants consisting of lecturers, researchers, professors, PhD students, alumni and other stakeholders from partner universities and countries.

You can read more about the ACCESS conference here.

Scope of the Competition: "Smart-Green"

This year, the AGEA Business Idea Competition is open to ideas for sustainable solutions to real-world challenges that satisfy a market need, specifically in Africa. Ideas do not necessarily have to be limited to the African market or needs.

The 2023 edition of the AGEA Business Idea Competition will focus on Smart Green Business Ideas. For the Smart Green Business Idea Competition, we encourage university students to develop innovative ideas for sustainable and smart businesses that positively impact the environment while being economically promising. Specifically, the competition seeks ideas that address various ways to use digitalisation to achieve a greener future.

Business ideas developed from academic/scientific research projects (e.g. research thesis or dissertation) are highly encouraged. The research must be conducted by the team or at least one team member.

In this context, the guiding question for what we consider a good business idea is, “How does the idea/business contribute to a greener economy and improved digitalisation in sectors?”. Our commitment to creating an eco-friendly business using digital tools is especially intriguing, and therefore we would like to receive ideas to support this. We also encourage the participants to consider the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as some SDGs 6 to 15 could be useful to include in the pitches of the business ideas for the competition.

The Stages of the Competition and Timelines

Opening of registration and submission portals. A complete application involves two steps.

  • An online registration of an individual or team participant and a summary of their business idea.
  • The registration will be reviewed. If the registration meets the competition requirements, the applicant will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the Innovation Platform (Innolytics) for the next step. This step requires providing details of the business idea (the business case) based on which the idea will be further evaluated.

NB: The online registration must be completed early to allow applicants enough time to complete the Innovation Management Platform before the deadline. Allocate approximately 2 days to complete the registration and submission steps.

  • Fully submitted ideas will be assessed and rated by experts from the AGEA/SEPT using a criteria (see below).
  • Based on the scores, the Top six (6) ideas will progress to the next stage of the competition.

Announcement of the Top Six (6) ideas.

  • Fully submitted ideas will be assessed and rated by experts from the AGEA/SEPT using a criteria (see below).
  • Based on the scores, the Top six (6) ideas will progress to the next stage of the competition.


  • An introductory webinar on business pitching will be held.
  • The selected Top six (6) ideas will prepare a short pitch video (maximum 3 minutes), which will be broadcasted on the day of the final event for the final jury and audience voting.
  • After the broadcast of the videos and a question-and-answer session, the final jury will award scores to each of the final Top six (6) ideas.
  • The winners of the AGEA Business Idea Competition 2023 will be announced publicly.
  • The final event will host both in-person and virtual participants.

Who can participate?

  • Bachelor, Master and PhD students at universities, research institutions, and other HEIs in Africa. Lecturers, professors and other academic/scientific staff could be part of the team to provide guidance but not main leads.
  • The participation of women is highly encouraged either as individuals or in teams.

If you or your team meets the above requirements, you are highly encouraged to participate in the AGEA Smart Green Business Idea Competition 2023. You stand a chance of winning the top prize and receiving support from our business development experts to build a viable business start-up.

How to participate

  • Eligible and interested individuals and teams should first register using the Registration Portal. 
  • Please click the Register Now button below for the first registration step and provide information about you or your team member and the business idea.
  • After successful registration, you will receive a confirmation email with further instructions on the next steps to complete your application using the Innovation platform, Innolytics.
  • Please be patient with us, as we will take some time to review your registration before you receive the link to Innolytics.
  • Please ensure 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.
  • Each unique idea must be registered once for the competition by an individual or a team.
  • If your business idea is from academic research, please share the following:
    • The title and declaration pages of the bachelor, master 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.
  • All submissions for the competition must be in English. Non-English proficient participants are encouraged to use translation tools such as DeepL or Google Translator to help them present their applications in English.

Deadline Countdown

The deadline has expired. Registrations can no longer be accepted.

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 pieces of information in advance to be used for the Innolytics portal.

  1. Problem: What is the main challenge your business idea seeks to solve? Why is the issue a problem?
  2. Academic Research: Describe the underpinning research conducted by you or a member of your team that has resulted in this business idea.
  3. Solution (product/service): How will you solve the problem? Provide a vivid description of the product or service and how the product will solve the identified problem. If available, include photos or videos of the product model or prototype in the submission.
  4. Innovativeness: What makes your solution unique from competitors or current solutions? What is “new” about the business idea?
  5. 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?
  6. Revenue generation: What is the interim plan to exploit the economic and commercial potential of the business idea? What is the revenue model of the business idea? What key resources are required to develop and introduce your business idea to the market?
  7. Future potential, Current stage, and next steps: How do you see the growth trajectory of the business idea?  What is the current development stage of the business idea? What are the key next steps planned for this idea?

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Innovativeness: This criterion assesses the level of innovation in the solution, i.e., the product or service. What is “new” about the idea or proposed business? Is the business idea for a novel product or service, or does it seek to improve an existing solution? Any sense of invention, original thinking, or “thinking outside the box”? And other related considerations.
  2. Feasibility: This criterion assesses the availability of technology and the technical know-how to turn the idea into a product. Can the idea be easily converted into a product or service? Is the right technology available to ensure the realisation of the idea? And other related considerations, such as technological availability to ensure the realisation of the idea.
  3. Market Availability: This criterion will assess the market opportunities. Is there an existing market for the product? Can the product be easily marketed to the proposed customers at a reasonable cost? How attractive is the solution for potential customers in comparison to existing solutions? Does the applicant show the monetary or economic value or the business potential of the proposed business idea?
  4. Commercial Viability and Sustainability: This criterion will examine how the business can generate revenue to sustain its operations. Can the business generate enough revenue to sustain itself after the initial investment is exhausted? And other related considerations.
  5. Impact: To what extent can the solution influence or transform the market, sector or society (economically, socially, and environmentally)? For example, what employment opportunities do you think the business idea presents?

Prizes for Winners

  • Certificate of Achievement will be issued to individuals or teams in the Top 6 of the competition.
  • The TOP 3 winning ideas will be supported in developing promotion videos (one video per team) for their idea, and these videos will be published via project websites and can be used by the participants to attract investors.
  • Student members of the winning teams (up to two members per team)  will be invited to Leipzig, Germany, for a five-day study tour from 31.08.2023 – 04.09.2023
  • The study tour aims to transfer knowledge and experience on the green economy and innovations to the participants.
  • Places that will be visited include leading German Companies like DHL Hub in Leipzig, Green Innovation fairs such as The Green World Tour Fair in Berlin, and start-ups in and around Leipzig that are implementing green innovation and digitalisation solutions and technologies in their businesses
  • In addition, cultural exchange activities are planned during the study tour. 

Important Note!

  • This part of the competition is financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
  • Participants must ensure valid passports and relevant travel documents are ready for travel during the stipulated period.
  • Visa and flight costs might have to be pre-financed by students, and the reimbursement will be done according to DAAD regulations and upon delivery of payment receipt (for flight and visa) and boarding pass.
  • The accommodation and subsistence costs during the study tour will be covered directly by Leipzig University.
  • Due to the financing conditions, only two student members of the teams can be financed for the study tour. 

Post-Competition Benefits

In addition to the cash prizes, post-competition support is available to all innovative ideas with promise. Regardless of whether an idea wins an award, the innovative ideas identified will be eligible to benefit from these resources if the team is interested and committed.

The expected result of the business idea competition is to enhance entrepreneurial skills development and business formation and provide resources that make setting up a start-up feasible. In our recent success story, the AGEA Business Idea Competition 2021 and 2022 participants were given further entrepreneurial training through the AGEA Start-Up Class to master in-depth managerial and operational skills to enhance the sustainability of their start-ups. 

The following support will be extended to teams or individuals selected based on their innovative ideas.

  • Incubation Support: Identified promising and market-viable innovative ideas will be provided with incubation support for commercialisation. 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, Career Center and Certification of Skills Director at ENET’COM in Tunisia, 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 in business models and plans.
  • Training: Specialized knowledge and skills are required to manage start-ups successfully. Therefore, tailored training sessions will be organised 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: If an idea requires a patent to prevent others from using, replicating or selling without permission, the AGEA network can provide legal rights proceedings to patent your idea.


If you have any questions or clarification contact Bismark Agyei Yeboah via email ( or telephone: +493419739765

Revisit our past final events

The Competition is supported by