What to expect from Tech4Africa IGNITE?

***  Please forward to anyone, this is public information.
The more people know about this and the more competition there is, the better for everyone.

Who is it for?
IGNITE is for startups & ideas that need funding to go further, and who have the potential to be a viable, profitable business.
We think the local startup environment could be better, and want to help change it through better co-ordination.
We’re trying to help startups by giving them exposure in a credible environment.
There are c 40 startups in the running thus far.

Who are the judges?
Most of the judges have asked to remain anonymous, which we think is a good thing.
All judges will be in the audience for the presentations.

Who are the investors?
Most investors have asked to remain anonymous too. They don’t want to be swamped or mobbed.
If there are any that are OK with being seen as investors, they will be on the website.

Who are the press?
Everyone from TechCentral, Memeburn & Daily Maverick, to ITWeb, magazines and newspapers.
The pick of the crop will be at the conference covering everything.

What are the rewards / incentives for IGNITE?
All applicants will be put onto the website, and will be announced in a press release.
You get exposure, there will be press releases (2 of them – finalists and the winner), all presentations will go up online afterwards.
There will be interviews after the presentation for the winner.
If the winner manages to take their business further, then there will be a speaking slot in the 2012 conference allocated.

What is the process?
Submit your application, with a brief description and a logo (for the website).
We’ll review internally. The judges will vote on for the final 8.
The final 8 will be notified via email.
Applicants not selected will be notified by email.
There will be a practice session where everyone is invited to practice beforehand.
There will be an entrepreneurs, investors and mentors meetup after that.
The final 8 do their presentations on the day.
A winner is picked by the judges after all presentations, and then announced at the cocktail party.
The winner will be given free drinks all night!

What do we have to submit?
Our focus is on how you’re going to explain to 500 people why your company / product / opportunity is awesome, and why people should take notice. If you can’t explain your product in one sentence, then you have bigger things to think about 😉

Step 1: fill in the attached form (you’ll get it if you apply), so we can circulate internally and to investors / journalists for their information.
Step 2: make sure you have a working demo, or kick ass presentation to show on the day. If you’re a finalist, we will need to see this beforehand.
You ***have*** to present a working demo / product – wireframes, powerpoints with financial projections etc won’t be accepted.

What happens on the day? What is the schedule?
There will be a practice session for everyone before the conference.
The main event will be on the Thursday night, starting at about 5:30 pm.
There will be 8 presentations, of 5 mins max, including questions.

What do we get?
Each of the final 8 will get a single free ticket. All your colleagues qualify for early bird tickets.
Everyone who applies qualifies for an early bird ticket (given the criteria above).

Are there any other examples of what we should be doing?
Watch this, try and better it:

Who do we speak to if there are more questions etc?
Email startups@t4a.feedmybeta.com

What are the deadlines?
Deadline for submission is Monday 12th Sept, 9:00am Pretoria time. Any submission after that will be rejected.

The stuff we’re working on, but can’t promise right now:
Amongst other things, we’re working with a major technology sponsor for IGNITE, where we’re trying to get the following things done:
– tickets to SXSW 2012 for the winner
– hardware / tablets for the finalists
– exposure through the partners press network / app site if the finalist is a mobile play
– cash money (you might not need investors!)
– and more which would make you really excited, but which would get us into trouble for calling it too soon

There are also bigger plans afoot for the community as a whole – so my appeal to everyone is that if we can make this a success, then the bigger plans become easier.

May the best win 😉