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Swiss - South African Venture Leaders

Group Picture
SA Venture Leaders 2015 at the Pitchfest@Google

Innovative start-up projects

“An incredible experience and opportunity to network with top level professionals and international start-ups.” Participant

A non-invasive sensory feedback system that will restore a sense of touch to an amputee’s prosthetic hand, rapid response mobile applications in the event of crime or accident, innovative, eco-friendly biopesticides, sustainable technologies promoting “green efficiency” in the wine-manufacturing sector – a broad range of ambitious business ventures has been represented in the Swiss South African Venture Leaders since its inception in 2011.

Swiss PhD students and postdocs with an entrepreneurial interest are especially invited to take part in the general workshops; this way young researchers from both countries receive deeper insights into Financing, Business Modeling, Sales & Marketing, Intellectual Property as well as Internationalisaton strategy.

Initiated by University of Basel as Leading House for South Africa within the Swiss – South African Joint Research Programme (SSAJRP) and co-financed by this as well as by TIA, the South AfricanTechnology and Innovation Agency, the programme follows a very practical approach. In addition to visits to successful Swiss start-up companies, South African entrepreneurs are requested to arrange individual appointments with companies active in their specific field. These meetings serve as a valuable reference for the way to move forward in each individual entrepreneurial journey.

The fact that real investors give real input on their final pitches – in which participants have seven minutes to sell their business idea to a panel of experts – is once and again the highlight as seen by most participants.


This is an excellent program that significantly improved the entrepreneurial skills of all the South African participants. The TIA, Uni Basel, and IFJ / venturelab staff and the carefully selected experts and speakers all contributed to make this an outstanding learning and networking experience.

South African participant SSAJRP Venture Leaders

It was a highly interesting program. It was really good to meet people that actually developed an idea to a final product and see that it is possible. Moreover, it was very practical and I am highly surprised that I can basically apply all that I learned. I would take all the courses I didn't this year in a next edition.

Swiss participant SSAJRP Venture Leaders
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