Saint Gobain Partners with AfricArena – Blog


AfricArena welcomes Saint-Gobain as strategic partner

Saint-Gobain is sponsoring two challenges for AfricArena 2018

Saint-Gobain places open innovation at the heart of its strategy. That is why this year the Group is endorsing AFRICARENA by issuing two challenges. AFRICARENA is a tech ecosystem accelerator conference which aims at showcasing Africa’s best startups and innovators in front of an audience of local and international investors. The conference started earlier this year with an AFRICARENA tour to select a shortlist of innovators to pitch at the grand finale in Cape Town. The tour travelled to Mauritius, Reunion Island, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal and now to South Africa.

On 9 October, the AFRICARENA tour will stop in Johannesburg (South Africa). It brings an opportunity for Saint-Gobain and the other Tour Partners to connect with some of the best startups of the South African ecosystem. These startups will have three minutes to convince the jury and compete for the chance to attend the grand finale in Cape Town. The event on 9 October will take place at Leroy Merlin, a recently opened hardware store (Edenvale) (see invitation below).

This year Saint-Gobain issued two challenges for which start-ups from all over Africa will have to pitch their services and battle against other start-ups to solve them. The first challenge is to find a trend analysis tool that is able to predict urban and climate challenges, and inform the market of solutions. In the second challenge, the Group is looking for a way to upgrade professionals’ skills, increase product knowledge, and empower skilled and unskilled workers to create their own job opportunities.

“We are working collaboratively with NOVA, the external ventures arm of Saint-Gobain. NOVA is supporting us in the process to identify forward-thinking startups via AFRICARENA whose philosophies align with our focus on well-being and sustainability. We are very excited to see what dynamic African entrepreneurs will propose to solve our issues and help us better answer our customer’s needs. I hope we will find a gold nugget to support through a long-term partnership” adds Waldo Viljoen, Head of IT – Business Applications, Saint-Gobain.

“It is particularly exciting for our team to welcome Saint-Gobain and its corporate venture fund Nova to our line-up of strategic AfricArena partners. We believe our joint commitment to open innovation will enable to identify and develop the start-ups on the African continent contributing to the future of predicting urban & climate change and skills development » concludes Christophe Viarnaud, founder of AfricArena

The grand finale will take place in Cape Town from 15 – 16 November.



Saint-Gobain designs, manufactures and distributes materials and solutions which are key ingredients in the wellbeing of each of us and the future of all. They can be found everywhere in our living places and our daily life: in buildings, transportation, infrastructure and in many industrial applications. They provide comfort, performance and safety while addressing the challenges of sustainable construction, resource efficiency and climate change. Saint-Gobain has a presence in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa with 5 representative offices in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and 14 local manufacturing facilities.


AfricArena is the largest tech ecosystem accelerator in the world and it’s based right here in Africa. The 2018 edition will take place on 15 and 16 November 2018. The conference involves two days of conferences, aimed at creating links and opportunities between start-ups, investors and established companies, but also between the African continent and the rest of the world. AfricArena stands as a bridge between the international and African tech innovation ecosystems. It represents an opportunity to explore tomorrow’s trends, discover today’s best companies, start-ups and innovations, and to be inspired by the most disruptive ideas and people of the moment. After the success of the inaugural conference in November 2017, AfricArena will return to Cape Town where delegates will hear from some of the tech scene’s leading visionaries and start-ups will have an opportunity to pitch their innovative solutions to corporates and investors. To find out more about AfricArena, please visit:

MARIE PELTIER: +27 (0) 82 415 1406



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