Winetech and SA Innovation Summit launch agritech startup competition

by | Apr 10, 2019 | News

Wine industry body, Winetech and Africa’s biggest start-up event, the SA Innovation Summit, have launched a competition for agritech start-ups.

Wine industry body, Winetech and Africa’s biggest start-up event, the SA Innovation Summit, have launched a competition for agri-tech start-ups that are developing innovative solutions addressing key issues confronting wine producers.

The finalists of the competition will go through to the Winetech Pitching Den where they will pitch their start-ups to a panel of judges at the annual SA Innovation Summit, which is taking place in Cape Town on 11-13 September 2019.

The start-ups will receive exposure to investment opportunities and channels to market, providing them with the opportunity to transfer their innovations to the more than 650 wine producers in the country. The winner will also be provided with incubation and acceleration to fast-track their company.

Wine producers are experiencing increasing consumer demand for environmental sustainability. The competition is looking for disruptive, innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions for reducing the wine industry’s impact on the environment. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain growth and profitability due to fluctuating climate conditions, increased minimum wages and rising fuel and water costs, among others. Over 66% of South African wineries are currently operating at a loss. The competition is looking for pioneering ways to use tech to rethink production methods and encourage stable growth for small and large industry participants.

The competition will focus on the following areas: climate change; water reclamation and resourcing; genetics; machine learning, AI and big data; and any other areas which increase efficiency, profitability and environmental sustainability.

Winetech Executive Manager, Mr Gerard Martin, says that the wine industry is ripe for disruption. “We are really excited to engage with start-ups which can bring novel and innovative ideas that can contribute to the competitiveness and sustainability of the South African wine industry.

“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.”

By connecting industry-ready innovations with wine producers, Winetech aims to boost the industry and help build a sector robust enough to withstand volatile economic and environmental climates.

Entries for the Winetech Pitching Den close on 9 June 2019.
For more information visit

About Winetech: Winetech operates as a network of participating institutions and individuals which, in one way or the other, have a strong interest in improving the competitive position of the South African wine industry. They provide the South African Wine Industry with a sustainable basis of forefront technology and human resources in order to strengthen both local and international competitiveness and profitability.

About the SA Innovation Summit: The SA Innovation Summit is an annual flagship event on the African innovation calendar. It provides a platform for nurturing, developing and showcasing African innovation, as well as facilitating innovation thought-leadership. Created to support and promote innovation and facilitate collaboration, the event brings together entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, academia and policy makers to accelerate innovation and inspire sustained economic growth across Africa.

For more information: 
Susan Botha | +27 (0)82 708 1960 |

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