South Africa Media Innovation Program

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The SAMIP Innovation Challenge is for South African projects and organisations that are building news and information products that engage and inform local/underserved communities, by:

searching for new ways to connect people with information,

exploring new business models, distribution mechanisms and/or revenue generation opportunities, or

creating platforms within existing news outlets for citizen reporting through mobile technology

Projects should address one or more of the following focus areas:

  • Digital Native Products
  • Reaching rural communities
  • Engaging people in official languages that are underserved
  • Technology innovation for distribution
  • New revenue opportunities
  • Transition to digital


Who are we looking for?

You could be an existing independent media company, a non-profit, or a new venture that is just kicking off.

We are looking for mission-driven companies and organizations passionate about trying new approaches to local news and information.

We encourage applicants who don’t have traditional journalism and media backgrounds, particularly from the areas of technology, design and business.


The Prize

A total of ZAR 3 million of grant funding is available to support independent media (covering existing companies, non-profits, and new ventures) in South Africa.

This is the initial disbursement of the total funding available through SAMIP – the South Africa Media Innovation Program.

SAMIP is a 3-year long program that will provide capacity building and financing to independent media in South Africa.

The aim of the program is to promote innovation within the media sector, and also foster new voices.

Winners will be selected by the SAMIP Advisory Panel, subject to approval by the MDIF Board of Directors.

Cash Prize: Up to ZAR 500,000 (*depending on budgets, we will consider smaller projects that apply)

In addition, winners will be admitted to SAMIP and benefit from capacity building:

  • on-going strategic advice, (expert advice)
  • tailored one-to-one consulting, (mentorship)
  • targeted group training designed to help participants’ financial viability and audience reach (training)
  • further funding, if approved by Advisory Panel, based on favourable initial results


How to apply

The deadline for our initial funding cycle is midnight on October 31, 2017.

We will narrow down applicants to a set of finalists for phone or in-person interviews during late October, before making our selections in November.

The winners will be announced at the end of November 2017.




  • new projects just getting off the ground, for which the applicant has initial evidence of a user need.
  • specific and actionable ideas for a novel product or service – product or working demo doesn’t necessarily have to be built yet – funding can be used for MVP. (Capability requirement)
  • products or services that have shown initial success/viability, and applicants are looking to scale up


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