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University of Basel

Academia - Industry Training

VL Group
South African Venture Leaders in Switzerland
The Swiss South African Business Development Programme brings together young entrepreneurs from Switzerland and South Africa with the aim of nurturing an innovative spirit and of creating business networks across continents.

Transforming science into business

Bringing innovation in academia to market requires more than just a good idea or expert research. Launching a successful hightech startup depends on an understanding of key topics such as intellectual property law, financing opportunities, business model dynamics & product development strategies.

SSAJRP's entrepreneurial cycle is a framework providing motivation, entrepreneurial know how and support to South African scientists while contributing to strengthening links and cooperation between the industries of South Africa and Switzerland.

The cycle commences in South Africa with the 3-day SSAJRP Venture Workshop then continues with the Swiss - South African Venture Leaders running in Switzerland a few months later. The workshop and the business development programme are designed to make a real impact on participants' entrepreneurial careers, encouraging and enabling them to drive their projects and business ideas forward towards becoming successful companies.

Swiss Venture Leaders AIT Camp in South Africa May 2019

The AIT programme aims to support scientists in transforming their high-level applied research into market application and discovering their entrepreneurial potential.

The South Africa Venture Leaders aim to boost the entrepreneurial know-how and exposure of  10 Swiss Sciencepreneurs seeking growth opportunities by offering a unique program bringing entrepreneurs to innovation hotspots in South Africa.

Offered to ambitious young entrepreneurs, this highly competitive program comprises a 5-days of industry tours and meetings organized with selected experts and stakeholders from different fields, information session  on “How to do business in South Africa”, interaction with South African startups, a networking and pitch battle event at the Swiss consulate and relevant connections for potential cooperation.

on Social Innovations in Housing

A joint call was launched 3rd of July 2017 in Switzerland and South Africa. Four projects of Swiss researchers from Swiss Higher Education Institutions have been selected to take part in the South African Innovation Summit SAIS in September 2017, to engage in the activities and match-making events of the SAIS and to showcase their innovative projects at the Swiss booth (link).

Swiss – South African Venture Workshop

Through the framework of the SSAJRP cooperation, Switzerland offers South African academicians the possibility to assess their own strengths and strategies in a science-to-market oriented higher education and research world. The 3-day workshop, delivered by IFJ Institut für Jungunternehmen (Institute for Entrepreneurship), contains a full set of tools and know-how for the entrepreneur, from assessing technology and market opportunities, pitching a business through to financing a venture.

Swiss - South African Venture Leaders

A 5-day entrepreneur training program in Switzerland for young, ambitious South African and Swiss entrepreneurs. Sponsored by the Swiss South African Joint Research Program (SSAJRP) Swiss South African Venture Leaders includes visits to start-up companies and workshop sessions on topics such as intellectual property, business modelling, sales & marketing and start-up financing.


Pitch Battle 2018

Murendeni Mafumo with Kusini: winner of the PitchBattle 2018

Organised for the forth time in 2018, the ‘Pitch Battle’ was a major networking opportunity and a great visibility event for the Swiss – South African venture leaders.

The Pitch competition at startup space was one of the highlights of the week. The 10 SA Venture leaders and 9 Swiss startups pitched their projects to an audience of 50 guests who voted for their favorite startup. The winner was Murendeni Mafumo with his project Kusini.

The program was life changing to me! I realized I need to have a much bigger vision and focus on what really adds value to the business. The program provided focus and confidence which are very much needed as an entrepreneur.

South African participant SSAJRP Venture Leaders 2016
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