Airbus BizLab launches first aerospace accelerator challenge in Southern Africa


Airbus BizLab has launched the #Africa4Future challenge, targeting Southern African startups with innovative ideas that will help define the aerospace business of the future.

The Airbus Bizlab is a global aerospace accelerator bringing together start-ups and Airbus’ own entrepreneurs to transform innovative ideas into valuable businesses more quickly, the company said last week. With the BizLab Airbus aims to accelerate the pace at which it can commercialise innovative ideas drawn from within Airbus and outside, including from customers and other external partners.

To achieve this, Airbus BizLab is establishing a network of Business Accelerators to provide support to startups and turn these ideas and technologies into commercial reality. The Airbus BizLab #Africa4Future programme is in partnership with the Silicon Cape Initiative.
“We are excited to finally bring this programme to Southern Africa. We have been impressed by some of the innovations coming out of hubs and university research labs within the region also empowered by the Silicon Cape Initiative. We are looking forward to receiving inspiring ideas and concepts at our specially-convened Pitch Day in Cape Town on 22 September,” said Bruno Gutierres, Head of the Airbus BizLabs.

Through programmes such as the #Africa4Future, Airbus provides early-stage projects with wide-ranging support, in the form of a six-month “accelerator programme” that gives startups access to a large number of coaches, experts and mentors in various domains: technology, legal, finance, marketing & communication; easing prototyping and market access.

Airbus BizLab looks for startups that will shape the future of growing societies, support sustainable development and empower mobility through aerospace technologies (AEROmobility) with the focus on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs), Satellite Operations and Imagery, 3D Printing, Smart sensors, Internet of Things (IOT), smart energy and Artificial Intelligence.
“Any startup in Southern Africa with any of the solutions or ideas that are in line with the Airbus Vision on AEROmobility should visit and submit their application on or before the 30th August 2017 to get a chance of being shortlisted for the final pitch event,” Gutierres added.

The Airbus BizLab welcomes applications for acceleration programmes from entrepreneurs, and start-up businesses from the region. A screening committee, which includes local representatives and the Head of the Airbus BizLabs will shortlist the most promising ideas or products.

The winning startup, selected from the final pitch event that will be held on 22 September 2017 in Cape Town, will win a fully-paid 10-day-trip to Europe in October/November 2017 and get the chance to meet and interact with aerospace experts and boost their startup. They will be able to work on solutions and, depending on the project‘s success, partner with Airbus BizLab to see it through to product stage.

The first Airbus BizLab was first opened on 9 March 2015 in Toulouse, France. The next centre will open in Hamburg, Germany followed by India and other countries, creating a global network of Airbus BizLabs across the globe.