October 09 2018

“It is particularly exciting for our team to welcome Saint-Gobain and its corporate venture fund Nova to our line-up of strategic AfricArena partners.

We believe our joint commitment to open innovation will enable to identify and develop the start-ups on the African continent contributing to the future of predicting urban & climate change and skills development" says Christophe Viarnaud, founder of AfricArena. 

Saint-Gobain places open innovation at the heart of its strategy.  That is why this year the Group is endorsing AFRICARENA  by issuing 2 challenges.

AFRICARENA is a tech ecosystem accelerator conference which aims at showcasing Africa’s best startups and innovators in front of an audience of local and international investors.

The conference started earlier this year with an AFRICARENA tour to select a shortlist of innovators to pitch at the grand finale in Cape Town. The tour travelled to Mauritius, Reunion Island, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal and now to South Africa. 

On 9 October, the AFRICARENA tour is stopping in Johannesburg (South Africa). It brings an opportunity for Saint-Gobain and the other Tour Partners to connect with some of the best startups of the South African ecosystem.

These startups will have three minutes to convince the jury and compete for the chance to attend the grand finale in Cape Town.

The event on 9 October is taking place at Leroy Merlin, a recently opened hardware store (Edenvale). 

This year Saint-Gobain issued 2 challenges for which start-ups from all over Africa will have to pitch their services and battle against other start-ups to solve them.

  • The first challenge is to find a trend analysis tool that is able to predict urban and climate challenges, and inform the market of solutions.
  • In the second challenge, the Group is looking for a way to upgrade professionals’ skills, increase product knowledge, and empower skilled and unskilled workers to create their own job opportunities.

We are working collaboratively with NOVA, the external ventures arm of Saint-Gobain. NOVA is supporting us locally in the process to identify forward-thinking startups via AFRICARENA whose philosophies align with Saint-Gobain's focus on well-being and sustainability.

The grand finale will take place in Cape Town from 15 - 16 November. 

"We are very excited to see what dynamic African entrepreneurs will propose to solve our issues and help us better answer our customer’s needs. I hope we will find a gold nugget to support through a long-term partnership” adds Waldo Viljoen, Head of IT – Business Applications, Saint-Gobain. 

More information about AFRICARENA: HERE