be prepared


Saint-Gobain places open innovation at the heart of its strategy.  That is why this year the Group is joining forces with AfricArena to launch an open innovation challenge, targeted at ecommerce and/or fintech startups operating in Africa, specifically in Egypt, Kenya and South Africa.


The Challenge seeks a product-market-fit solution already in place that serves as a: 

Marketplace, payment platform, community layby or savings (stokvels, tontine or equivalent) that enables consumers, particularly in informal markets, to tokenize vouchers redeemable in Saint-Gobain products at various DIY retailers.

Startups operating in any of the above verticals must be based in any of these markets: Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa. The startups must have proved product-market-fit as well as market validation. In terms of venture maturity, this Challenge accepts applications from startups between Seed and Series A stage. 


This innovation project has come at a time where digital commerce has accelerated in the continent faster than ever before. More and more businesses have adopted a digital approach to commerce and transacting online, allowing easier and broader access to markets. Being present in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Group works with local partners to imagine solutions which enhance an individual’s quality of life, and address the social, societal and environmental challenges.

Submission Requirements


For this Challenge we will consider:

Startups based and/or operating in Egypt, Kenya and South Africa


Existing product/service (Minimal Viable Product), and market traction.

Seed to Series A.


Required to apply

  • Pitch deck: in ppt. or pdf - MAX 50 Megabytes



For Egypt: 27 August 2021 at 23:59 GMT+2

For Kenya: 17 September at 23:59 GMT+2

For South Africa: 22 October at 23:59 GMT+2

Submit to Win

Prizes & rewards


The winning startup (and potential finalists)

Will have the opportunity to work with Saint-Gobain businesses to deploy a POC solution. Furthermore, AfricArena will award each of the 3 finalist startups US$10,000 worth of Amazon Web Services credit.


For the three finalists

3 startups will be selected to pitch at the annual AfricArena 2021 Summit in Cape Town in late November - where they will showcase their solutions in front of Saint-Gobain executives as well as investors looking for world class talent to partner with.