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NINJA Business Plan Competition In Response To COVID-19 For African Startups

NINJA Business Plan Competition

The Next Innovation With Japan – NINJA Business Plan Competition is calling for applications from startups and organisations in selected African countries. The aim is to foster innovations and to support the start-ups who have the ambition to contribute to the society in new and exciting ways.

It is an initiative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), an agency that coordinates official development assistance for the Japanese government in developing countries. And it is majorly for businesses emerging during the COVID-19 outbreak.

See Also: Mary Robinson Climate Justice Award 2020 For Young Leaders Behind Impactful Climate Justice Initiatives

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

About The NINJA Business Plan Competition

The NINJA Business Plan Competition will target startups and organisations from 19 African countries. It is open for startups/organizations in all sectors with a specific focus on emerging businesses in COVID-19-related fields including, but not limited to;

  1. Health: Online healthcare support; disease-testing solutions; medical data sharing and privacy protection solutions; distribution of drugs and medical equipment; IoT, including 3D printers, in the medical field
  2. Disaster management: Geo-tracking during disasters; emergency information dissemination
  3. Business services: Support for remote workers; efficient management/operation of online events
  4. Education sector: Remote learning support
  5. Food and agriculture: Efficient food/commodity distribution technology
  6. Finance: Contactless transactions/payment; lending/insurance services to SMEs and individuals
  7. Logistics: delivery service, urban mobility management
  8. Other: Substituting imported goods with local innovative technology

See Also: The Solution Space E-Track Programme 2020 For Founders Building High-Impact Businesses

Eligibility Criteria

To apply, you must meet all the following criteria;

  1. Organisations with the head office or a branch in one of the target countries. 
  2. Profit/non-profit organisations registered as an independent legal entity. Proposals from individuals will not be considered.
  3. Companies with a very strong management team of at least 2 people.
  4. Businesses that have an innovative product(s) or service(s) in response or adaptable to the pandemic and post-pandemic society OR have a feasible business plan to create prototypes (MVP).

Also, you must belong to any of the following countries;

Angola, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

See Also: The Youth Entrepreneurs Support (YES) Initiative For Young People (Age 20 – 30)

Benefits Of The NINJA Business Plan Competition

  • Winners from each country will be given a chance to sign a work contract with JICA for their innovation(s).
  • Winners will be eligible for equity/debt-free sum of up to USD 30000 by JICA for covering costs associated with the proposed activities including; 1. Remuneration of staff, 2. Other expenses, and 3. Indirect local tax.
  • Also, winners may get the opportunity to travel to Japan for further investments and business partnerships sponsored by JICA.

Selection Criteria

Selection of applications for the NINJA Business Plan competition will be;

  1. The proposal should introduce some level of innovation in terms of a business model, a new product or service that can be more actively used, and/or profitability in the current and post COVID-19 era.
  2. Proposals should be as commercially-oriented as possible.
  3. JICA may establish an evaluation board with outside evaluators experts under strict confidentiality to evaluate proposals.
  4. Each country will have 8 to 10 finalists out of which up to 5 winners will be selected.
  5. Winners from each country will participate in the grand finale.

See Also: 100 Profitable business ideas to start now for aspiring entrepreneurs and investors.


Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
  1. Application deadline: July 29th, 2020 (First-come, first-reviewed base)
  2. Interview of selected startups:  Mid to Late August 2020
  3. Final selection: September 2020                       

Also, JICA will request the startups invited to be interviewed online to submit additional documents/a pitch deck if necessary.

Other Important Information

  1. When applying, each company is to submit a business plan with the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can be achieved within about 6 months.
  2. Before the contract, JICA will examine the details of the proposed activity and the validity of the budget (each expense item) and JICA may request additional documents to determine the detailed activity in the contract.
  3. After the contract is signed, startups/organizations must submit monthly reports about the KPIs to JICA. (The duration of the contract will be about 6 months.)
  4. JICA will make payments based on the progress of the proposed activities and the submission of the progress reports and/or the expense report with receipt.
  5. The payment schedule will be determined by JICA, and in principle, no advance payment at the commencement of the contract.

See Also: The Google Podcasts Creator Program 2020 For Podcast Creators Around The Globe

Do you need a professional business plan to participate in this competition? Contact us at entrepreneurs.ng to get a tailored business plan. Our team of professionals can put your ideas together in the shortest possible time. Aside from serving this purpose, the business plan we will prepare for you can be used to access other finance opportunities to improve your business.

The deadline for application for the Ninja Business Plan Competition is 29 July 2020. If you are one of the passionate innovative start-ups with interest in collaborating with JICA, this opportunity is for you. Use this link to apply. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd9RV9xZhlCzf1NFxyHs–576N58VBoWUqHNSVJ8MAnoij7UQ/viewform

To keep track of our activities, follow us on Instagram.



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