SAIS Female Founder Award in AgTech, FoodTech, or ClimateTech businesses (Up to €30,000)

SAIS – Scaling digital Agriculture Innovations through Start-ups (GIZ) is currently seeking exceptional female leaders in Africa who are running innovative AgTech, FoodTech, or ClimateTech businesses to apply for the SAIS Female Founder Award 2024! This prestigious award aims to recognize visionary women who have achieved success in their respective fields, made a significant social impact, and inspire other women to start or expand their own businesses.

Who We Are

Our organization, the SAIS Female Founder Award, is an initiative led by “Scaling digital Agriculture Innovations through Start-ups” (SAIS), a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Our vision is to transform food systems by fostering a vibrant community of tech ventures in the developing world. The start-ups we support must offer solutions that contribute to income growth, improved nutrition, or climate change adaptation.

Through the SAIS Female Founder Award, we aim to enhance the visibility of female-led start-ups and create a more inclusive and dynamic environment for female founders to thrive and become the next generation of successful entrepreneurs in Africa.

What We Offer

Our offerings include the recognition of African female founders who have unique businesses with a strong digital component and a focus on social impact. We show our support and appreciation for your ambition by providing exclusive opportunities for visibility and the further development of your business.

The SAIS Female Founder Award 2024 ceremony will be held at VivaTech in Paris from 22-25 May 2024, in the form of a pitching competition. The three winners selected will have the opportunity to attend the event in person, with our esteemed jury announcing the rankings during an on-stage ceremony.

The first-place winner will receive in-kind support worth up to 30,000€, the second-place winner up to 15,000€, and the third-place winner up to 7,000€. This support can come in the form of vouchers and tailored services to enhance their business, including:

– Vouchers for special expenses such as online trainings, software licenses, and other services.
– Personalized coaching sessions with local and international experts, focusing on individual needs such as marketing, investor relations, and pitching to increase visibility.
– Assistance in establishing meaningful connections for business development and potential scaling through integration into the local ecosystem.
– Round trip airfare to Paris and accommodation for the entire duration of the VivaTech 2024 event.
– Introduction and involvement in the SAIS Female Leader Circle Community, where women in the startup ecosystem participate in input sessions with experts from various fields and engage in peer-to-peer exchange sessions. These monthly meetings serve as a platform for insightful discussions, networking opportunities, and skill development tailored to the unique challenges faced by women in the entrepreneurial realm.
– SAIS Female Founder Award Certificate and a seal for your website to acknowledge your business.

Who is eligible to apply for the SAIS Female Founder Award?
To be eligible for the SAIS Female Founder Award, you must meet the following criteria:

1. Founder: You must be an African female who (co)founded and currently runs a start-up or growth stage business. Additionally, you should possess technical experience in your specific area of operation.

2. Impact: Your work should promote female visionary leadership, support other female leaders, and contribute to women’s economic empowerment. Furthermore, you should be fostering a culture that values diversity. Your business should have a positive impact on solving a significant problem within your industry, and you should also contribute to the development of the start-up ecosystem.

3. Team: Your start-up must have a team of at least three people, including yourself as a founder, who work full time for the start-up.

4. Digital product/service: Your product or service should be digital or have a strong digital component. Additionally, your product should offer an impactful solution within the AgTech, FoodTech, or ClimateTech sectors in Africa.

5. Legal form: Your business must be registered and operate on the African continent. You should also have an official certificate of registration.

6. Market access and traction: Your company must have been registered for at least two years before submitting the application. Additionally, your start-up must have clear evidence of traction, such as a customer base and revenue.

7. Business model: You should have a unique value proposition in the market(s) where you operate. Your start-up should also have an understandable and convincing business model, including a clear problem statement and defined customer segment.

Please ensure that you meet all of these requirements before applying for the SAIS Female Founder Award.


The esteemed panel of judges will evaluate all submissions based on their entrepreneurial vision and resilience, social and economic impact, technical and industry expertise, support for female entrepreneurs, and promotion of diversity within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

What does the prize include?

1st Place
  • Vouchers: up to 12,000€
  • Services: up to 18,000€
2nd Place
  • Vouchers: up to 5,000€
  • Services: up to 10,000€
3rd Place
  • Vouchers: up to 3,000€
  • Services: up to 4,000€


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