WineTech and LaunchLab introduce SA Wine Industry Innovation Challenge

by | Aug 30, 2018 | Blog, Lifestyle, News

Winetech, together with the LaunchLab and the Faculty of AgriSciences, Stellenbosch University, are inviting business pitches for their first Wine Industry Innovation Challenge.



This is an opportunity for South African entrepreneurs with excellent business/product/tech ideas that can lead to start-up businesses which will support the Wine and related industries in South Africa, and to win their share of R150 000.

Entrepreneurs with a self-sustainable business idea – no matter how simple or small – that addresses a particular social issue(s), impacts communities, empowers the disadvantaged, and has the potential to solve local problems in innovative ways, can enter.

The finalists will receive exposure to a broader network of investors at the final pitching event, of which the date will be confirmed on the challenge website at:

The panel will consist of wine industry representatives as well as business leaders and technology experts who are familiar with the entrepreneurship journey.

Mr Gerard Martin, executive manager of Winetech states: “we are passionate about advancing the South African Wine Industry, and paving the way for success by creating and sharing KNOWLEDGE. We make it our mission to identify, prioritise, commission, complete and transfer research, development and innovation projects/initiatives that will directly contribute to strengthening the profitability and competitiveness of the industry. This is done in order to help create a wine industry that recognises and uses science, technology and innovation as cornerstones for its success. Winetech has been providing R&D, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer support to the Wine Industry for many years. This has mainly been conducted in collaboration with the academic research ecosystem through key university and applied research institutional partnerships. Being mainly funded by industry, Winetech is conscious of providing a relevant value proposition to its funders”.

“The wine industry is under severe pressure from many angles (e.g. climate change, water scarcity, consumer and competitor behaviour), so in order to compete successfully in a very dynamic global market place, the innovation challenges are becoming more complex.


As the old formulas and playbooks seem less relevant with emerging non-traditional competitors, it is becoming clearer that a new, more experimental mind-set is needed to test new approaches to innovation.

It is therefore imperative for us to deliver Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) outcomes that are highly valued and sought after by the industry in general and the pace setters in particular”.

LaunchLab is well positioned to deliver on Winetech’s and the wine industry’s needs, with a track record of delivering startups with innovative solutions and business models for a number of clients over the last five years. This challenge is especially relevant and exciting to LaunchLab, with its Nedbank Stellenbosch University headquarters being in the wine region of the Western Cape. This challenge is a great example of industry and academia partnering to solve local challenges.

Submission requirements: Submit a 3-minute video (cellphone footage is perfect) of yourself explaining your business idea.  Entry forms and details are available on the abovementioned website.

Pitches (video entries) need to focus on providing the following information: 

Provide a brief summary of the business/tech innovation idea, its team and its history.

What is the particular problem/issue that the business idea aims to address?

How does the business idea solve or address the issue?

Explain how the business intends to make money and be sustainable, while clearly describing the target market or customer profile.

What key milestones have been achieved within the venture?

What is the strategy to grow the business and scale the impact in the wine industry?

Anything else that the panel needs to know?

Submissions opened on 8 August, and the deadline for online submission entries is 28 September 2018. The top ten finalists will be notified on 2 October.

LaunchLab’s terms and conditions apply, and are available to download here:

The winning pitches will be announced at the pitching event, and the panelists’ decision is final.

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