Do You Have An Idea That Could Disrupt The Automative Industry? Mercedes Benz SA Wants You

Winner will have opportunity to become a supplier for Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s global parent company, Daimler


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The Mercedes-Benz South Africa Innovation Challenge invites students and professionals (as a first stream) and existing startups (as a second stream) to pitch their innovative ideas around a set of challenges, tailor-made to advanced manufacturing and benchmark sales and marketing topics, as identified by Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

The challenge spans various topics – ranging from big data and machine learning for manufacturing, the digitisation of logistics and production, app-based solutions for the evaluation of the condition of pre-owned vehicles, chatbot solutions for manufacturing learning and many more.

The Challenge is a partnership between Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), LaunchLab, a mixed-use business incubator based at Stellenbosch University​ and STARTUP AUTOBAHNa global innovation platform, co-founded by Daimler, with locations in Germany, Singapore and China, that connects startups with corporates in the mobility and production industry.  

At the end of the process successful participants from the first stream, students and professionals, stand the chance to win incubation support for their innovative ideas.

The successful participants from the second stream, the existing startup companies, stand a chance to get their share of R600 000 for supplier development, international exposure and the possibility to become a supplier for Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s global parent company, Daimler. 

How To Enter

All interested parties can register for an information seminar, to be hosted on the 31st of August 2017 at the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab premises in Stellenbosch. The information seminar will also be accessible online

Immediately after the information seminar the submission phase will open, where participants can submit a video online or pitch in front of a camera at various participating campuses until the end of September.

A shortlist of candidates/teams in both streams will then be notified and enter the second phase of the process where the ideas will be polished and benefit from access to Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Daimler AG and STARTUP AUTOBAHN expert role-players. 

In November the shortlisted groups will then have the opportunity to present their ideas to Mercedes-Benz South Africa decision makers. 

'Shaping The Future Of Mobility And Production'

"MBSA has partnered with the LaunchLab as part of our continuing efforts to contribute to the economic growth and sustainability of the country as a whole and to youth development. The areas that the challenge is focusing on are key to our continued growth and success as we operate in a highly competitive space, says Andreas Engling, CEO and Executive Director Manufacturing, Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

"The LaunchLab is very excited to have joined hands with Mercedes-Benz South Africa and STARTUP AUTOBAHN on the Mercedes-Benz South Africa Innovation Challenge. This is another example of a well-known multinational seeing the value of engaging with the startup ecosystem and we are very pleased to be able to facilitate the interaction between these two groups to leverage the strengths of both, for mutual benefit. This is an awesome opportunity for our local entrepreneurs," says Philip Marais, CEO of the LaunchLab.

"We are excited to get in touch with promising tech startups from the region. With the platform STARTUP AUTOBAHN, we can support them and further shape the future of mobility and production," says Anke Kleinschmit’s, Vice-President Group Research & Sustainability, Daimler AG.

Throughout the challenge, progress and news will be shared online and on social media platforms, utilising the hashtag #MBSAInnovationChallenge.

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