South Africa is set to participate in the Viva Technology Conference and Exhibition (VivaTech) which is dedicated to innovation and digital transformation focused on start-ups.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies will lead a South African business delegation exhibition that will take place in Paris, France, from Thursday until Saturday.
The event will have a strong focus on Africa, with more than 200 start-ups and French groups committed to digitalization in Africa from across the globe.
For the first time, up to 50 African start-ups from four key sectors will gather in a dedicated zone with local incubators and accelerators. Selected start-ups will pitch their solutions.
Davies on Monday said the objective of the event is to provide an opportunity for start-up companies to meet and collaborate with executives in their industry, connect with top investors to raise funds and develop partnerships with other start-up companies.
According to Davies, VivaTech provides a good platform and opportunity for South African companies to engage with Information and Communication Technology (ICT), innovation start-ups and experts in the field from around the globe.
“Participation of South African companies is critical as this is a platform that presents great opportunities for start-up companies. Our start-ups can learn, work closely, and advance their skills to develop innovative new applications through knowledge sharing from experts across the globe in the ICT field.”
The Minister added that through participating in this trade mission, South Africa envisaged that the SMMEs will gain a competitive edge in international markets.
“Moreover, through their participation in VivaTech, South African companies stand a great chance of acquiring mentorships, being enrolled in international incubation programmes as well as being selected to serve under the world-renowned companies within the ICT space looking for new innovation and technology.”
The dti, through Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme (EMIA), has funded a group of start-ups which will exhibit at the VivaTech showcasing their products and services within the ICT space.
Furthermore, a group of nine students from the “We Think Code” will take part in a hackathon, a competition focused on hacking programmes. In addition, to the dti-funded companies, there are 32 privately-funded companies which will also participate in the event as part of the SA delegation.
The Minister added that the ICT sector in South Africa is an important component of the national economy and is one of the critical driving forces of economies across the globe and has the potential to transform business and government in South Africa, driving entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth.