The South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) is a $4 million, 3-year media initiative to accelerate digital media innovation among independent media outlets and encourage new entrants.

The program will provide funding and capacity building to organisations selected to participate.




SAMIP is about innovation. Innovation in how media is used to find and tell stories, and innovation in developing new and sustainable business models.

This is a time of transition for many media companies and successful organisations need to diversify revenue streams and build products that resonate with their audiences.

Our program will provide the funding and mentorship needed for the independent media sector to deploy new solutions and reach new audiences.

The program is being run by MDIF, with funding support from Open Society Foundation of South Africa and Omidyar Network.

Who can apply for entry into SAMIP?

You could be an existing independent media company, a non-profit organisation, 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 also encourage applicants who don’t have traditional journalism and media backgrounds, particularly from the areas of technology, design and business.

How will SAMIP participants be selected?

We are seeking applications from organisations that are building innovative news and information products that either:

  • explore opportunities to reach and connect with broader audiences through digital platforms and technologies;
  • developing new revenue generation opportunities or sustainable business models.

The Advisory Committee will recommend candidates to the MDIF board who will make the final decision. The proposed candidates will need to meet the following criteria.



Kicking off 2018 with a bang

2017 was a rollercoaster year for the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP): not only did we begin our program, at an event keynoted by Patrick Gaspard, now President of the Open Society Foundation, but we also opened up applications for our first Innovation Challenge that saw more than 200 applications from across South Africa […]

Focus Areas

Digital Native Products

New approaches to collecting news and information, and to reporting, storytelling and distribution that embrace the possibilities of technology.

Reaching rural communities

Innovative approaches to reach and empower people outside of major urban areas, and those generally underserved by existing news media.

Engaging people in official languages that are underserved

Attempts to engage and distribute content to communities in vernacular languages that are underserved.

Technology innovation for distribution

New media technology for local news that can find ways to distribute all forms of media in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

New Revenue opportunities

Innovative solutions to revenue challenges that media companies face – how can we open up new revenue streams to make media organisations more sustainable and independent.

Transition to digital

Finding and implementing solutions, products or processes that assist legacy media to transform their businesses.

Advisory Committee

Justice Malala

Justice Malala

Justice Malala is a political commentator and newspaper columnist. Malala writes regular weekly columns for The Times newspaper and the Financial Mail magazine.

Dinesh Balliah

Dinesh Balliah

Dinesh is a media consultant/trainer who is currently a PhD candidate at Wits University in Journalism and Media Studies, researching newsroom convergence and the impact on journalism practice in South Africa.

Mohamed Nanabhay

Mohamed Nanabhay

Mohamed Nanabhay is the Deputy CEO of the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), which invests in independent media around the world providing the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies.

Pontsho Pilane

Pontsho Pilane

Pontsho is a health journalist at Bhekisisa, the Mail and Guardian’s centre for health journalism. She debuted as a journalist at The Daily Vox, where she wrote primarily about gender, race and how they intersect.

Khuram Hussain

Khuram Hussain

Khuram helps structure and manage Omidyar Network’s investments in for-profit and nonprofit organizations that seek to make governments more transparent and accountable to citizens in Africa.

Matthew Buckland

Matthew Buckland

Matthew is the founder of Creative Spark, a digital agency and online publisher. His company was acquired by Saatchi, and he now serves as the CEO at M&C Saatchi Creative Spark.


Siyabonga Africa

Siyabonga Africa

Program Officer
Lerato Mashianoke

Lerato Mashianoke

Program Assistant
Bilal Randeree

Bilal Randeree

Program Manager



For enquiries please e-mail the SAMIP Team at or complete the form below.

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