Project NINJA Business Plan Competition in response to COVID-19 (up to USD $30,000)

Project NINJA Business Plan Competition in response to COVID-19

Deadline: July 29, 2020

Project NINJA Business Plan Competition in response to COVID-19 (up to USD $30,000)

Applications are open for the Project NINJA Business Plan Competition 2020 in response to COVID-19. The NINJA Business Plan Competition will target startups and organizations from 19 African countries.

The application 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:

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
Disaster management: Geo-tracking during disasters; emergency information dissemination
Business services: Support for remote workers; efficient management/operation of online events
Education sector: Remote learning support
Food and agriculture: Efficient food/commodity distribution technology
Finance: Contact less transactions/payment; lending/insurance services to SMEs and individuals
Logistics: delivery service, urban mobility management
Other: Substituting imported goods with local innovative technology.


  • 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 $30,000 by JICA for covering costs associated with the proposed activities including remuneration of staffs, other expenses, and indirect local tax.
  • Winners may also get the opportunity to travel to Japan for further investments and business partnerships sponsored by JICA.


  • Open to organisations with their head office or a branch in one of the target countries.
  • Profit/non-profit organisations registered as an independent legal entity. Proposals from individuals will not be considered.
  • Companies with a very strong management team of at least 2 people.
  • 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).

Eligible Countries

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

Project NINJA Business Plan Competition Selection criteria

  • 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.
  • Proposals should be as commercially-oriented as possible.
  • JICA may establish an evaluation board with outside evaluators experts under strict confidentiality to evaluate proposals.
  • Each country will have 8 to 10 finalists out of which up to 5 winners will be selected.
  • Winners from each country will participate in the grand finale


When applying, each company is to submit a business plan with the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can be achieved within about 6 months.


For more Information: Visit the website for Project NINJA Business Plan Competition

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