Are you – or do you know of – a tech-savvy statup working on a product that will improve access, simplify or raise awareness of vital legal services legal services in a way that makes justice more approachable and cost effective for the world?
If so, we’ve got a bit of top news for you. htxt.africa is working with The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) to help promote its global Hiil Justice Accelerator, a program which focuses on mentoring, fundraising and networking innovative legal startups and inititiatives is looking for innovative ideas that’ll help decode legal systems around family and starting small business laws for ordinary citizens.
This year, the Justice Accelerator is focussing on two themes, Family Justice and SME Empowerment. Both have been set up as challenges on the Innovating Justice website and anyone can enter. We’re especially keen to get a good number of entries from across Southern Africa, where we know there are plenty of people who are working on products in the fields.
HiiL’s Family Justice Challenge focuses on the promotion of justice solutions that empower and strengthen individuals and family units, which could be anything from digital access to marriage certificates to an app for helping women and children to leave abusive relationships. The SME Empowerment Challenge, on the other hand, is aimed at making it easier for Small and Medium sized Enterprises to start and grow businesses and could improve simplifying contracting procedures to IP-related issues to applications for employee disputes.
The structure of the challenge – which is backed by the Ford Foundation – is straightforward. All applications must be received via the Innovating Justice website by 30th June. From there, six finalists from each region will be invited to an intensive business acceleration “Boostcamp”, and move on to the next stage of the challenge.
Global finalists given the opportunity to showcase their idea to investors in the HiiL network using the organisation’s crowdfunding platform, and any entry that raises $3 000 will receive an equal amount in direct from HiiL itself. The final part of the challenge will see the best innovations attend the Innovating Justice Forum in The Hague at the start of December, where they’ll receive more development assistance, a chance for direct funding and the ability to network with other investors looking for opportunities in the field.
Over the two different challenges, a total of 160 000 Euros (about R2.8m) of funding and acceleration support is up for grabs.
The criteria for selection include innovations that strictly promote justice with an expected impact over the areas of focus. The innovations must also have sustainability, scalability, create impact and be unique. Ideally, HiiL is looking for innovations that at least have a team working on minimal viable product, if not a fully functioning startup as yet.
“There are increasingly more justice needs requiring our attention and yet the level of providing solutions has remained the same over the years. This is now leaving out a number of citizens uncovered and unprotected by existing justice systems,”Head of HiiL’s Justice Accelerator, Wilfried De Wever, said in a statement.