Startups share $8k after SA AccelerateHer programme

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Three startups shared a total of ZAR100,000 in grant funding after the conclusion of the inaugural AccelerateHer programme for female entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Disrupt Africa reported in January Seed Academy, WDB Investment Holdings and Shell Downstream South Africa had partnered to launch AccelerateHer, a three-month business accelerator for female entrepreneurs.

The fully-funded AccelerateHer provided 25 black female entrepreneurs with an intensive programme including developmental workshops, high impact business development support and mentoring from industry specialists and experienced entrepreneurs to fast track their development.

Overall winner Geneva Kuypers of Geneva Projects & Supplies was awarded ZAR50,000 (US$4,000) towards her aspiring business, while runners-up Lelo Rammitloa of Got Paper and Siphumelele Shabalala of Krypton Industrial Services each received ZAR25,000 (US$2,000).

Seed Engine chief executive officer (CEO) Donna Rachelson said the rigorous 90-day programme had seen an impressive number of early successes, with four of the entrepreneurs successfully pitching to new clients, three increasing turnover and expanding their client base, and one business securing a contract with a world-leading diamond company and a leading glass manufacturer.

“The strength of the AccelerateHer programme is that it can be customised for women entrepreneurs at all stages of development from the initial ideation phase, to enterprise development and supplier development,” said Rachelson.

In addition, the AccelerateHer programme creates a pipeline for the WDB Seed Fund, an impact fund that provides funding to growth stage businesses with a particular focus on black women and youth owned businesses. Through the inaugural programme, one business has been selected to be put forward to the fund.

“Through AccelerateHer we are able to create a pipeline not just for the WDB Fund to fund some of these outstanding entrepreneurs but also benefit the economy as a whole,” said Faith Khanyile, CEO of WDB Investment Holdings.

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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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