The Embassy of Ireland in South Africa in partnership with Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), the Department of Science & Innovation (DSI) and Dogpatch Labs Ireland invite South African tech startups to apply to the Irish Tech Challenge South Africa 2023.

Closing Date: 29 September 2023

Find out more at our Virtual Information Session

 on Wednesday, 13 September 2023 at 11:30


Up to €10,000 in funding for each of the 5 entrepreneurs
  • A funded and curated business networking trip to Ireland with access to the country’s top business ​​leaders.
  • ​​​​Access to the Irish tech ecosystem ​​with potential opportunities for further funding. ​
  • Acceleration support to position your global scaling strategy in collaboration with Dogpatch Labs in Ireland.

Closing Date: 29 September 2023



  • Collaborative initiative: Spearheaded by the Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, in partnership with the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, the Technology Innovation Agency and Dogpatch Labs Ireland, the programme aims to fuse Irish technology expertise with the innovation of South African tech entrepreneurs.
  • Focus on innovation: The Irish Tech Challenge is rooted in promoting innovation, fostering technology development, and ensuring effective technology deployment within South Africa.
  • Empowering diversity: With a special emphasis on encouraging applications from women, young entrepreneurs, persons from historically disadvantaged communities, and startups aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Global expansion support: The chosen entrepreneurs will receive not just financial aid, but also premier access to Ireland’s vast technological expertise and influential networks to bolster their growth. Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world and is home to nine of the top 10 US tech companies and the top five global software companies, and has produced seven home-grown tech unicorns. 
  • Overcoming challenges: The initiative understands the barriers faced by tech entrepreneurs ready for global scalability: limited resources, high tech costs, and network and infrastructure access.

Join the Irish Tech Challenge South Africa 2023 and seize the opportunity to change the tech landscape while making a global impact.

Closing Date: 29 September 2023


13 September 2023: Information session – click here to join

29 September 2023: Submission deadline

16 October 2023:  Innovators confirmed

17 October to 17 November 2023:  Pre-acceleration programme 

20-24 November 2023: Showcase Week

February 2024: Visit to Ireland for 7-8 Working days

Closing Date: 29 September 2023

Selection criteria

Post revenue; Pre-revenue (but with developed IP or prototype). Venture must demonstrate commercial potential.

All sectors welcome. We are particularly interested in: Clean/Green-Tech, Circular Economies, Med/Health/Biotech, Ed-Tech, WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene).

Addressing one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: See SDG list

At least one founder/CEO must be full-time. Women-led or youth-led businesses are particularly encouraged to apply, as are businesses led by persons from historically disadvantaged communities.

At least 51% owned by a South African national.

Headquartered in South Africa or Ireland.


The selection committee comprises highly qualified and impartial experts with experience in the technology and innovation sector and experience working with entrepreneurs at varying stages of their entrepreneurship journey.


Trade and Education Counsellor at the Embassy of Ireland

Dr Babongile Mkhize

Director for Innovation Priorities and Instruments at the Department of Science and Innovation

Hesus Inoma

International Liaison at Dogpatch Labs – Ireland

Monique D. Griffith

Head of Innovation Partnerships at the City of Johannesburg

Nicola Kelly

Director: Sub-Saharan Africa at Enterprise Ireland

Ephraim Phalafala

Deputy Director in the Department of Science and Innovation

Prof. Helen Duh

Head of School: School of Business Sciences University of the Witwatersrand


Head of Enterprise Development Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct

Connect with us


For general feedback and any queries not found in the FAQs, please email

Please expect responses within three working days.

We may be unable to answer specific questions about applications while the call for applications is still open.

Closing Date: 29 September 2023

Want to know more?



The Irish Tech Challenge aims to support innovation and entrepreneurship by fostering connections between the South African and Irish tech ecosystems. The Tech Challenge will identify a number of high-potential impact-driven South African tech start-ups each year and provide them with a curated mentoring and acceleration program in the Irish tech ecosystem.

  • To provide Five high-potential entrepreneurs who are ready to expand their company and operations globally, with access to high-quality Irish expertise and networks.
  • To foster stronger ties and collaboration between the tech and entrepreneurship ecosystems in Ireland and South Africa. The objective is to provide a platform for both countries to thrive through mutual cooperation and support.

The Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, in partnership with Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and Dogpatch Labs Ireland.

Application Process

Businesses in all tech sectors are welcome to apply. Companies in the following sectors are particularly encouraged: BioTech, CleanTech, Circular Economy, Ed-Tech, GreenTech, HealthTech, MedTech and WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene)

The business must be majority owned by a South African, with headquarters in either Ireland or South Africa

  • Post revenue refers to a business that has begun to generate sales and is now building efficiency to enable it to scale.
  • Pre-revenue, (but with developed intellectual property) refers to a business that is yet to generate any sales e.g., because it doesn’t have a product on the market yet but has developed intellectual property (for technology based businesses)

No, it can be headquartered in Ireland or South Africa, however, it must be majority (at least 51%) owned by a South African nation