Gauteng-based Awethu to offer top graduates $16k seed capital

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Gauteng-based Awethu has opened applications for its 22-week business incubator programme, offering the top 10 per cent of graduates ZAR250,000 (US$16,000) in seed capital.

Disrupt Africa reported in 2014 Gauteng-based Awethu was utilising partnerships with South Africa’s Jobs Fund and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) to incubate and invest in entrepreneurs in the province.

Awethu runs six-month incubator programmes for startups, funded by the Jobs Fund, and has also partnered SEFA to launch a ZAR64 million (US$5.7 million) investment fund for selected startups.

The latest programme offers entrepreneurs initial kick-start funding of up to ZAR5,000 (US$320), while the top 10 per cent of graduates become eligible to receive seed capital equity investment of ZAR250,000 to grow their businesses.

“The incubator model stems from Awethu’s firm belief that black South African youth are as entrepreneurial as the youth of any country, if not more so but the constraints of a largely informal economy make it near impossible for survivalist entrepreneurs to differentiate themselves,” said Yusuf Randera-Rees, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Awethu.

The incubator puts an emphasis on practical training. Within the first six weeks of the five-month training programme, aspiring entrepreneurs are required to be running a business. The modules covered in the programme have a practical business focus on market research, marketing, financial management and cash management, together with all the tools commonly expected of an incubator.

To demonstrate their commitment to the process, applicants are required to pay a ZAR100 (US$6) application fee. They will also be required to contribute ZAR500 (US$31) for each of the two three-month blocks in the Micro-Business Incubator Scholarship.

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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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