Applications open for SA New Economy Accelerator


Applications have opened for the second intake of South Africa’s New Economy Accelerator (NEA), which is looking for ideas that support entrepreneurship in rural economies.

This year’s NEA has two parts, a continent-wide ideation challenge on the theme “re-imagining rural economies”, and a South Africa-focused component for entrepreneurs linked to the renewable energy region in the Northern Cape.

There are 15 places up for grabs in the ideation challenge, where participants are requested to come up with ideas on how robust local economies will improve the livelihoods of rural communities. The top five respondents will be afforded an opportunity to implement their concept, through enterprise development and mentorship.

For the South Africa-focused component, 10 entrepreneurs will be recruited exclusively from the Northern Cape Province, along the renewable energy belt of South Africa. Winners will receive 10 months of dedicated support, including enterprise development, mentorship and access to seed funding.

The aim of the process is to crowdsource innovative ideas and business models that can be applied in rural context, across Africa but specifically South Africa, with this year’s programme following the successful incubation of 10 base of pyramid (BoP) enterprises earlier this year.

“Attention to new economy principles and activities at the Base of the Pyramid is key to driving inclusive socio-economic development.  Even though the informal sector and rural economies make a significant contribution to economic growth, low income areas are often underserved and lack adequate infrastructure,” said Dr Mao Amis, convenor of the New Economy Accelerator.

“NEA offers an excellent vehicle to explore new opportunities and build awareness among potential entrepreneurs, helping them identify business opportunities within their communities.”


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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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