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R100 000 awarded to media innovators

Over the last four months, the LaunchLab, a network of Stellenbosch University campus-based business incubators, in partnership with MultiChoice, South Africa’s leading video entertainment company, ran an entrepreneurial challenge across its partner university campuses in the Western Cape to unleash innovation in media.

The challenge, which forms part of the LaunchLab’s Breakthrough Innovation Platform, officially kicked off with a workshop on 3 March at the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (or AFDA), where members of the MultiChoice team gave an overview of the business, trends and opportunities – and its challenges – in the media industry to inspire the LaunchLab community to come up with breakthrough ideas. More than 50 aspiring and practising entrepreneurs and enthusiasts from the media, technology and creative communities attended the workshop.

The challenge was open to anyone with an innovative idea for the entertainment value chain (production, processing, distribution or consumption), to pitch a business idea at one of the participating campuses or to submit a video pitch online.

The LaunchLab received many sign-ups and pitch submissions, which were narrowed down to the 10 best finalists.

The finalists pitched their media innovation ideas at the final event held at the MWEB head office in Cape Town on 18 May.

The judging panel consisted of six judges selected from the innovation and business development teams from MultiChoice. “We were very pleased with the quality of pitches at the final event.

We wanted to access new ideas for analysing consumer behaviour data and video consumption trends, to find new and innovative ways of creating content and new ways of delivering entertainment. The final pitches delivered on our expectations,” says Charmaine Smith, GM strategy and business development at MultiChoice.

The three final winners win seed funding and incubation support from the LaunchLab for the next 12 months to be used to launch and grow their business ideas. MultiChoice will be monitoring the development of these business ideas carefully during this time to gauge their potential and see how they can add value to MultiChoice.

“LaunchLab’s Breakthrough Innovation Platform is ideal for established businesses that want to access new breakthrough ideas from outside their own businesses to tap into new markets and future revenue streams,” says Philip Marais, LaunchLab’s CEO.

“External ecosystems like the LaunchLab are far better equipped to test new ideas quickly and at a low cost. It’s better for established businesses to stick with their proven business models, while the LaunchLab helps them to find new business models – although they still remain part of the process, helping to judge the progress of the business ideas and to mentor the entrepreneurs through the LaunchLab Lift-Off Programme process.”

The MultiChoice Media Innovation Challenge winners, who will be taken up in the LaunchLab Lift-Off Programme, are as follows:

First place: NumberBoost (R50 000): A spatial-data science tool for demographic analyses and targeting.

Second Place: Mediatisers (R30 000): A virtual marketing space for media used in advertising.

Third Place: Eightstreet Stories (R20 000): A mini-series production house-making short stories for exclusive mobile platform consumption.

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