SA’s Blue Label Ventures appoints Maria Pienaar as director

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South African boutique business accelerator Blue Label Ventures has appointed former Cell C chief information officer (CIO) Maria Pienaar as founding director, saying she will bring two decades of experience working in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley tech industry.

The Blue Label Ventures accelerator has been launched by JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms and Blue Pencil Ventures, and Pienaar will work closely with co-founder Tallies Taljaard to help high-potential companies accelerate their growth.

Blue Label Ventures focuses on post revenue scale-ups that are maturing from their incubation phase and which are ready to develop into more mature businesses. It will provide high potential South African tech businesses with access to funding, market opportunities, channels and skills.

“Small and medium enterprises are key to unlocking inclusive growth in the South African economy, and the technology industry offers many entrepreneurial opportunities. We will provide a much-needed platform for developing innovative, fast-growing tech businesses into globally competitive companies,” said Pienaar.

Taljaard said Pienaar’s business acumen would be valuable in helping high-potential tech companies accelerate their growth.

“Her in-depth knowledge of the telco and technology ecosystem, coupled with her Silicon Valley experience, will be invaluable in defining a new model for the acceleration of startups in South Africa. We currently have six companies on our shortlist at various stages of engagement,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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