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Space-Tech Innovation Challenge 2020

Driving Africa's geospatial readiness through local talent

Challenge Winners

We are proud to share the start-ups that were selected as winners of the challenge. They offer creative and fantastic solutions to real problems across Africa. Read more about each one below.


Hydro Blu

South Africa

Joash Kisten

Hydro Blu is a geospatial data science company that was established to improve the accuracy of borehole drilling in remote and vulnerable regions by enabling hydrogeologists to make data-driven decisions when identifying suitable locations to drill. The overall objectives of the company is to increase access to sanitary water supply for both human consumption and agriculture practices in previously excluded areas.


Smart AgrIoT

South Africa

Jabu Madlala

Smart AgrIoT is a cloud-based digitisation and farm management platform for smallholder farmers to promote precision agriculture solutions, including data gathering by satellites and drones, weather information and soil sensors as well as other data-driven farming practises. They aim to build a world with no poverty or hunger by providing low-cost solutions that enable smallholder farmers to meet the needs of their direct and broader communities.





Crepin Kayisire

Hehe aims to create a post-harvest logistics platform using remote sensing technology to forecast and match demand and supply. Through this, they are enabling manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to reach the end consumer conveniently while unlocking access to a variety of goods and services on demand. 

FieldDev Group Nigeria


Nduka Okpue

FieldDev Group Nigeria is an agribusiness-focused geographic information systems (GIS) mapping provider. Their flagship is a web-based geospatial analysis tool that provides a fast, precise, and easily repeatable way for smallholder farmers farming collectively in geo-cooperatives to divide up their shared land expanse into smaller adjacent plots, whose sizes match each farmer’s pre-established acreage need. The tool reports back high-res coordinates of each farmer’s plot boundaries in under a minute and eliminates the need to physically scout every single plot within an expensive GPS device or other traditional survey equipment.  


What is the Space-Tech Innovation Challenge 2020?

The Space-Tech Innovation Challenge 2020 will identify and develop the most promising new innovators, entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses across Africa. The challenge is targeting downstream space-tech applications across agriculture, insurance, retail, sustainability and conservation. Do you have what it takes to empower Africa through space-tech innovation?

What is Space-Tech?

  • The set of applications which use earth observation, the gathering of information about the physical, chemical and biological systems of the planet via remote-sensing technologies
  • There has been a surge in demand for these applications across a wide range of industries where they are driving cost reductions and sustainability. Space-tech has reached a point where almost every business can or does use it – often without even knowing

Why Now?

  • The African space-tech sector is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, but it is still significantly underexploited. This represents a massive investment opportunity
  • The African Union has identified earth observation as a key resource which must be leveraged in achieving Africa’s development goals
  • One of the best ways to grow this sector is through an open innovation challenge


  • To identify the most promising innovators, entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses across Africa and develop them into sustainable companies 
  • To develop Africa’s geospatial readiness so that African businesses can service African demand for geospatial intelligence



    Challenge open for applications

  • 18 OCTOBER

    Applications close


    Online pitches at Geo Week


    Online business development support


    Final pitching den


    Online incubation, virtual mentorship & access to peer-to-peer network

Top 10 participants receive

  • Opportunity to showcase company to a global audience at GEO Week, an intergovernmental earth observation conference
  • Media coverage and social media blasts through ZASpace and partners
  • Industry links and market access through ZASpace and partners
  • Screening for investment by Anza Capital
  • 1-month business development support through the Research Institute for Innovation & Sustainability
  • Opportunity to pitch company to judges and industry representatives during final pitching den
  • Provision of ortho-ready satellite imagery from Maxar’s archive; 10x 25sqkm allocated per finalist up to the value of $75,250

Winners receive

  • 4-month online incubation and virtual mentorship, and ongoing access to a peer-to-peer network through the TechTribe
  • Winner: SecureWatch Premium 5GB valid for 3 months to the value of $12,500
  • Second place & Third place: SecureWatch Premium 2GB valid for 3 months to the value of $5,000
    Opportunity to directly pitch your idea to a MAXAR representative.

Submission Criteria

  1. At lease one of the founders is an African citizen, or company is registered in Africa
  2. Innovation uses geospatial intelligence to serve one or more of the following industries:




Sustainability and Conservation 

A handful of applicants from the programme were given the opportunity to present their businesses on a global stage at the 2020 GEO Industry Track event.