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Everything you need to know about SA’s tech startup ecosystem [updated 2018]

Update: Are you a venture capitalist or an angel investor looking to invest in a company? Are you an entrepreneur looking for capital or other opportunities? Are you an aspiring startup owner looking for assistance? Well, you have come to the right place. Ventureburn presents the 2017 updated guide* to South Africa’s startup scene.

This article is the most comprehensive guide for anyone who wants to get involved with, or have a better understanding of, the country’s fast-growing startup space. It is a part of a series of articles we will pilot, which will also include the West African and East African startup space.

We have scoured South Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape and hand-picked some of the top players to get you started, looking at all sectors from education, investment (angel, venture capital, private equity), government, accelerators and incubators to media players (print and online).

Bookmark this one. The intention is for this article to be a living thing, which will grow into the ultimate resource for South African tech startups and entrepreneurs. Also, with your comments and suggestions we hope to create a clear overview of the people and organisations that influence and shape South Africa’s tech venture space.

Venture capital

Venture capital is all about early-stage, high-potential, high-risk, growth startups. The local sector, though small, still invests millions of rands in deals. See some of the top deals of 2017 here, some 2017 figures on VC in South Africa and some of the top acquisitions in South Africa.

For a comprehensive list of venture capital and private equity firms check out the South African Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (Savca). Our picks are known tech startup investors.

Top South African companies in 2016 launched the R1.5-billion SA SME Fund, a VC fund to co-invest alongside various investors (not solely VC investors). However as of October 2017 the fund was yet to get under way with investments.

Meanwhile the 12J VC tax incentive, administered by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) has taken off in recent years after authorities amended onerous rules. See a PDF list of the latest approved 12J funds here. Among the best funds to try if you’re a tech startup are: Kalon Venture Partners, KNF Ventures and Grovest.

AngelHub Ventures started out as South Africa’s “first group of angel investors” that provides pool funding, expertise and networks to foster startup growth. Angel investors Michael Jordaan (the ex-FNB head) and Kevin Harris joined from 2014 and the firm upgraded to a VC. Under the leadership of Brett Commaille, the firm has been supporting startups like GoMetro, Snapplify and AmaLocker.

Founded by Michael Jordaan, MonteGray provides seed and growth capital, strategic advice and access to networks. The businesses it invests in are all focused on solving everyday problems. For instance, Snapplify is a digital publishing solution while Project Isizwe’s provides free WiFi in low-income communities.

4Di Capital prefers early-stage tech investments. Its Early-Stage Technology Fund 1 is aimed at startup investment opportunities with big growth potential at the seed and early stages in the mobile, enterprise software and web sectors. For example in 2017 it invested in Sensor Networks and Aerobotics.

Knife Capital is a growth equity fund manager with a specific focus on sustainable technology-enabled ventures. The company was named South Africa’s best VC in 2012. Some more recent achievements include the exit of radar startup iKubu to Garmin in 2015. In 2017 the company invested in its first international deal.

Business Partners  launched a R400-million VC fund in 2012. By June 2017 the financier had invested in 19 deals. It funds startups in the clean energy, agri-processing, biotech and ICT sectors up to R25-million.

Grovest Venture Capital Company (VCC) claims to be South Africa’s first VC company incorporated under Section 12J of the Income Tax Act — a new asset class in the country that has proven to be successful in the UK and sees VC companies traded as venture capital trusts. The VC structure offers investors exposure to the VC sector, while at the same time providing up to 40% tax relief on their investments.

Kalon Venture Partners is a Section 12 J venture capital fund that invests in digital disruptive technology. The fund has invested in companies such as SnapnSave, i-Pay and The Sun Exchange. See this article for more information.

Edge Growth manages over R900-million of early stage venture capital and has invested in more than 45 deals since launching its first fund in 2010. Edge targets opportunities across any sector that has the potential to create positive impact. Portfolio companies include Sweepsouth, Mobenzi, Pioneer Academies and Everlytic.

Invenfin is an early-stage venture capital fund that looks at ventures across all industries. Some notable portfolio members include ArcAqua, Ad Dynamo and Bos Brands.

The Omidyar Network is active across the African continent, as it is around the world. Founded by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, the initiative has been funding a range of ventures from Lagos to Cape Town and Nairobi. Some notable South African investments include online distribution network Bozza, education programme IkamvaYouth as well as fact-checking media outlet Africa Check.

Silvertree Capital (also known as Silvertree Internet Holdings) supports and invests in startups targeting the South African and sub-Saharan African markets. Within the first half of 2015, the firm has invested R20-million and has enjoyed month-on-month revenue growth of over 10% across its portfolio.

eVentures Africa Fund was launched in 2010 by Vincent Kouwenhoven and Brian Hirman. The fund leverages capital and experience from Europe to invest in internet-related companies in Africa. Some of the firm’s notable investments include South Africa’s Nomanini and Nigeria-based MoboFree.

Seedstars World, as the name suggests, is a global venture capital firm based in Switzerland. Startups from a growing number of emerging markets — including South Africa — are invited to pitch and take part in the international competition where they’ll stand a chance to win up to US$500 000 in equity investment.

HAVAÍC is a Cape Town based VC company which sources funding from family offices and investors. The company in 2017 invested in several startups, including Drive Revenue and Digital Cabinet.


With the popularity of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter in the US and Europe, new initiatives tailored specifically for businesses have emerged, but in South Africa this has yet to prove itself as a viable option for startups.

Today, the local scene is dominated by Thundafund which focuses on all kinds of initiatives, whether that be helping hobbyists bring their ideas to reality or a startup seeking funding. A marketplace for creatives and innovators, the organisation is also behind Ripple which is focused on support social initiatives and change-makers.

South Africa’s first equity crowdfunding platform Uprise.Africa was launched in October 2017, despite the Financial Services Board (FSB) yet to rule on the legality of equity crowdfunding.

Rainfin is one of South Africa’s only online marketplace lending platforms (offering loans in a similar way as P2P platforms do). The platform offers loans to small businesses. Changes to National Credit Act regulations, which came into effect in 2016, have however slowed lending to startups with an annual revenue of less than R1-million.

Angel investors

Whether or not angel investing is on the rise in Africa as it is in the US, South Africa has its fair share of wealthy individuals with investment sense (read Ventureburn’s 2017 guide on how to go about angel investing here).

The South African Business Angel Network (SABAN), launched in 2016, is the go-to place for angel investors. The organisation organises regular events and networking sessions — including covering issues such as the lack of women angel investors.

Former CEO of FNB Michael Jordaan, owner of Bartinney Wines, and Mike Ratcliffe, managing director at Warwick Wine Estate, each made an angel investment in 140 character social wine review service, Real Time Wine. Though the startup ended up tanking, Jordaan is still not shying away from placing his bets, mostly investing through MonteGray and AngelHub Ventures.

A dragon from the live investment show, Dragons’ Den, Vinny Lingham is an early backer of many South African startups. Lingham, together with business partner Llew Claasen, is behind angel investment firm Newtown Partners, which has a stake in SAFlorist, SweepSouth, WumDrop and many more.

Co-founders of Groupon SA Wayne Gosling and Daniel Guasco often work side by side. Regular features at events such as Net Prophet’s Sparkup Live, some of these investments include 8Bit, WumDrop, Receiptful and Ekaya.

With a strong background working for the likes of Vodacom and Mediclinic, Ernst Hertzog from Action Heroes Ventures is also an early backer of Ekaya and WumDrop.

The Africa Angels Network invests in and partners with tech startups in sub-Saharan Africa. Its portfolio ranges from SureGifts in Nigeria, to South Africa-based Bozza and SweepSouth.

An advisor to Swyft and Gyft, Michael Leeman, is behind four startup exits, including Gyft and Clicks2Customers. Other investments include Chesscube and, more recently, Adii Pienaar’s Receiptful. Leeman is the founder of Miombo Capital.

Justin Stanford of 4Di Capital has been in the investment game for over a decade. He is an early backer of Ekaya, WumDrop, HealthQ and Motribe, which was successfully acquired by Mxit in 2012.

Private equity

Private equity firms differ from their venture capital counterparts in a fundamental way. Private equity is about taking a company at later stage in its development and restructuring it to optimise its financial performance.

The private equity firms listed here have made notable investments in tech startups.

Ethos Private Equity has been around for 25 years and has raised four funds, the latest of which tops US$800-million. Ethos seems to invest in a range of markets including tech — it has an investment in Clickatell, the bulk-SMS service provider.

Acorn Equity has a few funds that invest in a range of sectors. Its tech fund invests in tech startups with an enterprise value of up to R200-million and pre-tax profit of up to R50-million at the time of investment. The targeted investment size per transaction is R30-million to R80-million. Its portfolio doesn’t yet include a tech investment for its Acorn Venture Technology Fund One.

Horizon Equity‘s portfolio includes quite a few tech investments. It invests amounts from R10-million to R100-million into privately held South African companies from early stage through to pre-listing, including management buy-outs.

Sasfin Private Equity will only look at startups valued at R50-million upwards with an annual turnover of more than R30-million. Sasfin requires an equity share of 20% to 49% and “committed and competent management with a proven track record.”

Kagiso Tiso Holdings has a private equity arm with a focus on black economic empowerment (BEE). The firm typically invests between R20-million and R70-million in its portfolio companies, in exchange for a minority equity stake of between 20% and 50%.

Impact Amplifier aims to address socio-economic and environmental challenges, innovative entrepreneurs and business models must emerge in South Africa and the greater continent. This is done by providing investment readiness and advisory services to businesses.

Capital Eye Investments Limited describes its portfolio as a blend of startups and mature cash-generating businesses. Some of its investments include WiGroup, Alacrity, Cquential and Emerge Mobile.

Government support and funding

Though somewhat less known than private funds, the South African government is behind a range of support programmes for entrepreneurs and innovation in the country.

The Department of Trade and Industry has various programmes aimed at boosting the country’s economy. Its Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII) provides grant funding to help entrepreneurs to commercialise innovative projects, while the Technology and Human Resources Programme (Thrip) has grants for entrepreneurs that work with universities or colleges to carry out research in order to commercialise an innovative solution.

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) provides finance for industrial development projects. The IDC invested in the animation industry when it awarded R17-million to Cape Town-based Triggerfish animation studios in 2009. The IDC launched the Startup Nations South Africa initiative in 2014 to unleash high-impact entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Innovation Hub launched in 2001 by the Gauteng Provincial Government with the aim of fostering socio-economic development and competitiveness in the region. The Innovation Hub is behind a range of projects such as mLabeKasi Labs and the Climate Innovation Centre South Africa.

The Department of Small Business Development’s Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) provides business support to small and micro enterprises. The Seda Technology Programme helps fund a network of business incubators and provides grants to small businesses that help cover the cost of acquiring new technology.

Supported by Department of Science and Technology, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) develops and nurtures technological innovation in order to improve economic growth in South Africa. TIA administer’s a seed fund, which the agency launched in 2013 and provides entrepreneurs and innovators with grant funding of up to R500 000 to R650 000 per project. The fund channels seed funding through technology transfer centres at universities and science centres to innovative projects as well as through small business support organisations in provinces to entrepreneurs. In 2016/17 the fund lent out R74-million to 133 projects.

Wesgro, the official destination marketing, investment and trade promotion agency for the Western Cape does its part to promote entrepreneurship. It recently published a report that showcases local startup success stories and support structures and it also runs the Western African Trade Corridor Programme — its latest programme focuses on exploring trade and partnership opportunities in Nigeria’s service sector.

Technology transfer offices

Startups looking to acquire intellectual property from universities can work with technology transfer offices at universities and research centres. Some of the most best ones are: Stellenbosch University’s Innovus, UCT’s technology transfer office, Nelson Mandela University’s centreWits Enterprise, the CSIR.


An incubator brings in an outside team to manage an idea that was developed internally and takes a larger chunk of equity in the resulting company.

The Awethu Project is pioneering a new approach to identifying talented entrepreneurs in under-resourced South African communities. Its applicants don’t need any minimum level of education, business experience, capital or even an investable idea. The only requirement is that an applicant comes from an under-resourced background and can prove that they have world-class entrepreneurial potential through Awethu’s Talent Identification Process.

Forming part of CiTi (see networking organisations below), Bandwidth Barn has been in operation since 2000 and is today regarded as one of the leading ICT business incubators in the world. The initiative has also been behind the setting up of a Bitcoin hub as well as Virtual Reality community — both a first in South Africa. In 2015, the Bandwidth Barn also unveiled Barn Khayelitsha — a co-working support hub for entrepreneurs in the area.

Impact Amplifier focuses on supporting entrepreneurs who tackle Africa’s socio-economic and environmental challenges. It acts as both an incubator for high-growth, high-impact businesses and as a consultant for big business.

The Innovation Hub is backed by the Tshwane metro (Pretoria) and includes an incubator and a network of township hubs, part of its eKasiLabs programme.

JoziHub wants to transform the technology industry by connecting potential entrepreneurs and developers with the critical resources they need. It has backing from heavyweights such as Omidyar and Google.

Based in Stellenbosch the Nedbank LaunchLab offers a range of services to entrepreneurs from the local university and outside. With programmes such as Lift-Off, internship opportunities, and startup acceleration, the initiative aims to facilitate the growth of the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Founded in 2000, Raizcorp is one of the few unfunded for-profit business incubator in Africa. It has several physical incubators in South Africa.

The RLabs Innovation Incubator provides entrepreneurs with a shared space to develop their ideas with help from an experienced developer and entrepreneurship network. Ventures that have a social impact, are sustainable and show potential for growth are welcome.

Seed Academy offers a range of different support programmes for entrepreneurs. From its 10-week Think. Be. Do. programme to an incubation support programme that runs between six and 24 months, the organisation offers coaching, workshops, tools and more.

The Shuttleworth Foundation looks for “amazing people”, gives them a fellowship grant, and multiplies the money they put into their projects by a factor of 10 or more. Startups that receive fellowship grants get office space for a year during which their ideas are developed.

The government’s Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) funds a number of business incubators. Those aimed at tech startups are: Savant, Invotech, the Seda Nelson Mandela ICT IncubatorSmartexchange, Softstart BTI and the SA French Tech Labs.

Standard Bank launched its Standard Bank Incubator Programme in 2015 to educate, create, empower and develop entrepreneurs in South Africa. The programme is accompanied by the incubator co-working space in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

The Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein offers startup incubation, digital skills training as well as research and training in general. The new precinct opened in 2016, is spearheaded by the University of Witwatersrand and Johannesburg’s Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), and also backed by the national government, private sector and civil society.

Founded in 2014 at the UCT Graduate School Of Business with initial funding support by UCT Vice Chancellor Strategic Award and the MTN Group, the MTN Solution Space provides an ecosystem for early-stage startups and a research and development platform for corporates to experiment with emerging business models. Our Venture Incubation Program (VIP) enables startups to test and build commercially viable and scalable business. The Solution Space recently launched its second hub at the heart of the Cape Flats in Philippi, which exists to nurture and equip local entrepreneurs.


An accelerator does exactly what its name suggests — helps businesses accelerate growth. For the most part, an accelerator differs from an incubator in that programmes usually run for shorter periods, often ranging between three and six months. The programme usually rounds off with a demo day where startups pitch their ideas to investors.

The 88mph accelerator started in Kenya, and later moved to Cape Town where it merged with Google’s Umbono programme for entrepreneurs, and was subsequently called Google for Entrepreneurs. The three-month programme runs in Nairobi and Cape Town and sees simultaneous investments upwards of US$100 000 in 10 to 12 startups. Funding, entrepreneurs-in-residence and office space is provided. In 2015, the organisation announced that it was taking a break from investing. Instead, it will focus on its existing portfolio to get good return for its investors and founders.

Global aerospace accelerator Airbus BizLab runs an acceleration programme through its #Africa4future initiative. In 2017 it took on two aerospace startups — one from Southern Africa and another from East Africa.

Johannesburg business support organisation Aurik runs a business acceleration programme. In 2015 it reported that the 27 companies it was supporting at the time collectively created 63 jobs since 2013.

Part of a global startup support initiative, Microsoft’s BizSpark Accelerator programme has partnered with South African government’s Jobs Fund to offer support and mentorship to small businesses. The overall programme currently supports around 1 665 SMEs in the country.

In March 2017 the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi) launched the first EdTech Open Innovation Cluster and incubator in Africa. The programme takes place over nine months and participants will have access to a range of individuals and receive funding.

The Founder Institute is an early-stage startup accelerator and global launch network with a part-time four month programme. The idea is that entrepreneurs can launch their dream company with training, feedback, and support from experienced startup CEOs, while not being required to quit their day job.

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) through its Gazelles programme aims to help 40 high-growth companies a year to increase their company value by 20% in three years. A second round was announced in 2017, following the first round which kicked off in 2016.

South African growth equity fund manager Knife Capital runs the later-stage business accelerator, Grindstone, in order to assist high-growth technology enabled SMEs to become sustainable and fundable. In 2014, the accelerator reported a 61% increase in revenue for all its companies.

The I’M IN accelerator is aimed at building high growth black-owned tech startups. The first cohort with 10 startups kicked off in the middle of 2017.

mLab Southern Africa is a vertical accelerator that focuses on mobile innovation and startups. It offers a number of support services including mentoring, development, infrastructure, funding and access to industry players and government locally and internationally. mLab is backed by the World Bank, infoDev, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland & the Department of Science and Technology.

The New Economy Accelerator, an initiative of the African Centre for a Green Economy (AfriGCE) has been on a mission to build an inclusive economy and promote environmental sustainability in rural economies. See here for some of its success stories.

Launched in 2015, New Ventures Studio is a young entrepreneur accelerator in Cape Town. The Studio partners with 16 to 35-year olds to accelerate an idea or startup into a repeatable and scalable business model. Entrepreneurs are vetted through an experiential eight-week entrepreneurial course at the end of which they pitch to enter an incubator offering physical space, mentorship, specialised startup or acceleration services and capital raising.

Barclays Africa runs the Barclays Rise programme aimed at assisting fintech startups. In 2017 the bank revealed the names of the 10 startups from across Africa that would be supported in the second Barclays Accelerator programme, powered by Techstars.

Startupbootcamp Cape Town runs a three-month accelerator programme. The first cohort kicked off in Cape Town in September. Ten (see the list of the first cohort here) selected teams will each be given €15 000, a free working space, access to investors and opportunities to attend industry events. Here are the legal obligation to consider before joining.

Claiming to be the largest of its kind, Sw7 (Start With Seven) is behind a nine week part-time evening mentor-led programme. The organisation works with over 150 businesses and is a Microsoft Bizspark Plus partner and runs the technology accelerator for Standard Bank.

Barclays Africa launched its Tech Lab Africa programme in Cape Town in 2015 to connect startups, corporates and innovators with a global network to help scale innovative solutions. The initial programme is 13 weeks long and seeks to accelerate South Africa’s financial technology and digital health industry.

Funders Vumela and Edge Growth in 2016 launched the 10X-e accelerator, aimed at growing established, high potential entrepreneurs. The accelerator’s mission is apparently to help talented scale-up stage entrepreneurial teams scale themselves, scale their teams, and scale their businesses. See more here.

Conferences and events

Similar to networking bodies, conferences are seen as key players in celebrating the startup space. These initiatives are often accompanied by pitching competitions, keynotes and networking.

Startup Grind is an international organisation that hosts monthly fireside chats with local industry entrepreneurs and startups. The initiative has growing chapters in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Founded in 2010, its vision is to connect startups and the people behind them, tap into a strong support network, form meaningful connections and gain inspiration for the startup journey ahead.

Launched in 2014, Entrepreneur Traction‘s aim is to bridge the gap between potential young tech entrepreneurs with top level CEOs, VC’s and influential speakers. and help grow a strong network of like-minded driven entrepreneurs from around South Africa.

A flagship of LIONS@FRICA, DEMO Africa is an annual pan-African pitch competition and conference dressed as a launchpad for emerging technology and trends. LIONS@FRICA was launched by the US Department of State, in collaboration with Microsoft, DEMO, USAID and Startup Weekend.

Startup Weekend (Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg) is part of an annual grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. Active in over 200 cities around the globe, the three-day event is filled with networking, pitches, mentoring and awards.


Without media, there’s no story. Along with the “African rising” narrative and more international interest in the continent as a region for investment opportunity, an increasingly large number of publications from abroad are interested in telling the country’s stories, amplifying their reach.

Burn Media‘s Ventureburn features written and multimedia content on technology startups in Africa, as well news, analysis and opinions on entrepreneurship from an emerging market perspective.

Entrepreneur Magazine is touted as South Africa’s best-selling entrepreneurship magazine. It’s also a great online resource for general topics and tips on entrepreneurship.

TechCentral has a very strong South African flavour. Its focus is more on general technology news, but it also publishes entrepreneurial stories.

Although they do not have a strong startup focus, the list wouldn’t be complete without Moneyweb, MyBroadband and Fin24, three great resources for business news in South Africa.

US publication Quartz launched its African chapter in 2015 with a focus on unique, insightful articles that are often technology-focused and startup related.

Popular US magazine Fast Company launched its first English edition outside of its home country in South Africa. The publication offers a range of different content, with a main focus on feature-length profiles of industry leaders or startup founders.

Disrupt Africa aims to be the go-to source for all things startups, investments and innovation in North, East, West and Southern Africa. Alongside news articles, the site also focuses on interviews and stories on important stakeholders of the industry.

Hypertext Media Communications (or simply known as htxt) covers South African news on startups, women in tech, games and makers. The site aims to become the number one community for interesting stuff coming from South Africa and the rest of the continent.


As research in Omidyar’s Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa report suggests, management and other entrepreneurial skills should be fostered in schools.

The online education venture, GetSmarter, presents a collection of 10 courses covering different aspects of entrepreneurship. These topics range from how to Start and Manage a Small Business to the Basics of Financial Management. Time it takes to complete these courses range from six to 12 weeks. The organisation has also partnered with CiTi and Barn Khayelitsha‘s business development programme to support entrepreneurs.

Regenesys Business School provides free, fully accredited, internationally recognised online business education for South Africans.

In 2012, the UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) teamed up with growth equity fund manager Knife Capital to launch the Find Make Grow Realise education programme to promote the development of early-stage, high growth entrepreneurial activity in the City of Cape Town. Today, other short courses on offer by the GSB include the Business Acumen for Artists and Masterclass: Business Model Innovation.

Omidyar Network’s African Leadership Academy (ALA) is a South African-based educational institution that identifies the most promising 16- to 19-year-olds from all 54 African nations for an innovative, two-year program focused on leadership, entrepreneurship, and African studies.

IBM’s Africa Innovation Centre in Johannesburg, launched in June 2008 as an enablement facility for crucial ICT skills such as Software Development. It aims to advance the creation of local jobs.

The University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town runs the MIH Media Lab which emphasises applied research — by students with engineering or computer science degrees — with projects that have a good chance of producing prototypes or proofs-of-concept that could eventually be commercialised.

Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development is a post-matric level academy based in Cape Town that offers an inspiring and innovative six month, full-time programme in entrepreneurial development.

TSiBA Education is a private, not for profit business school that helps people who cannot access opportunities to study, with full-tuition scholarships. The courses are focused on developing entrepreneurship and leadership.

Networking organisations

Whether you’re looking for talent, inspiration or partners, networking organisations are the facilitators between startups, investors and other stakeholders of the industry.

The Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) is a global business network of 8 000-plus business owners in 122 chapters and 35 countries. Founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs, EO enables small and large business owners to learn from each other, leading to greater business success. Read more about the South African chapter of EO.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been making a big impact in the local industry. With a focus on emerging companies, the multinational is behind the Vision to Reality awards programme which seeks to celebrate innovation and upcoming software businesses. Finalists of the programme have access to the company’s mentorship initiative as well as access to local and global industry leaders and strategic advisors. PwC also this year released its emerging companies survey, which reveals the challenges and opportunities South African companies face.

Endeavour seeks to identify and assist high-growth entrepreneurs in emerging markets around the world. The entrepreneurs cultivated by Endeavour in turn help create jobs, propel economies, and cultivate leaders and role models.

Silicon Cape is a non-profit, community owned and driven initiative that aims to improve the environment in the Western Cape to create more and better startups as well as increase access to capital.

Situated in Stellenbosch, the Nedbank-backed LaunchLab forms part of the local university’s Innovus initiative which is responsible for technology transfer, entrepreneurial support and development, and innovation at the university. The LaunchLab is behind a range of services for both established and budding entrepreneurs, offering incubation space, pitching competitions, workshops and more.

Tech in Braam is connecting IT entrepreneurs and professionals with the aim of creating and growing a world-class technology sector in Johannesburg.

The Sable accelerator is an international partnership group dedicated to helping South African entrepreneurs, new venture startups, academic institutions and companies commercialise technology innovations, promote and protect intellectual property, fund new business concepts, finance growth, as well as expand into global markets. Sable is powered by MentorCloud, the cloud-based mentorship platform, which also works with the University of the Witwatersrand Alumni Association, powering their mentoring programme between alumni and students.

Simodisa aims to empower startups in South Africa. Apart from various startup-focused events during the year, it seeks to act as facilitator between government and private bodies. The initiative represents a collaborative research, stakeholder engagement and policy design effort by key stakeholders from both the public and private sector in South Africa.

The Cape IT Initiative (CiTi) is a non-profit organisation focused on supercharging the Western Cape’s technology sector as well as tech-enabled industries like financial services, retail and government. It considers itself a “mothership” for a number of initiatives in support of startups, skills development, cluster development, research and market growth programmes. Under the new leadership of Ian Merrington, CiTi has secured a multi-million rand backing from Telkom.

The Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship based in Johannesburg provides free training, mentoring and other networking and marketing platforms for entrepreneurs who demonstrate the potential to move their small business to the next level of growth.

Launched in 2015, AlphaCode wants to be the club for next-generation entrepreneurs in South Africa’s financial services industry. With its co-working space based in Sandton, Johannesburg, the initiative has a range of membership options available with benefits that range from facilitated networking, access to the working space, mentorship and more.

Backed by US$100-million, the Nigerian billionaire, Tony Elumelu, launched the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme in 2015 to support a total of 10 000 entrepreneurs across the continent.

The V&A Waterfront’s Workshop17 officially opened its doors in 2015 with the aim of fostering collaboration and innovation in the country and the greater region. Besides a co-working space, the hub is responsible for talks, lectures, workshops and educational programmes.

In Johannesburg the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) offers firms (not just tech companies) a 12-month residency at 22 ON SLOANE, a physical startup campus which launched in 2017. It also offers grants (see this story).

*This piece was updated by Ventureburn editor Stephen Timm on 3 December 2018. If you’d like to add your organisation to this framework or suggest an additional category, please comment below or contact us.

Image by David Stanley via Flickr

Author Bio

Jacques Coetzee
Jacques grew up in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Keen to take over the world, one word at a time, he has always been interested in both politics and development and studied International Relations (BA) at Stellenbosch University. With an interest in innovation and social change, he seeks to tell the... More
  • Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen

    If possible, could you add ZApreneur to the list. (http://zapreneur.com). It is a mix of opinion and aggregation of opportunities for entrepreneurs. I have been running the website for over four years, and I looking forward to developing the next iteration.

  • brucewade

    Entrepreneur Incubator and Academy, operating out of Woodstock, Cape Town offers virtual incubation from startup to sustainable for innovative entrepreneurs. Three levels of support are on offer: Start Up School, a 10 week accelerator for the newbies. Club 500 for mid range businesses with coaching and education. Bar 1 Plus, for the established businesses offering strategic coaching and a virtual board service. Also available is a video studio to create marketing and explianer videos. http://www.ei.co.za

    • Jacques

      Thanks for pointing this out, will look into it!

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    Hello everybody, I am Mrs Grace Tessy,currently living in USA.I am a widow at the moment with three kids and i was stuck in a financial situation by October 2015 and i needed to refinance and pay my bills. I tried seeking loans from various loan firms both private and corporate but never with success,and most banks declined my credit. But as God would have it,i was introduced to a man of God a private loan lender by a friend named Mr Jack Walman and i got a loan sum of $500,000USD and today am a business owner and my kids are doing well at the moment. So dear,if you must contact any firm with reference to securing a loan with low interest rate of 2% and better repayment plans and schedule,please contact Mr Jack Walman He doesn’t know that am doing this but am so happy now and I decided to let people know more about him,He offers all kinds of loans to both individuals and company and also i want God to bless him more. You can contact him through his email via:jackwalman93@gmail.com,

  • Johnson

    A very good news for south Africa Citizen and Namibia, As an organized and licensed loan company CASH VIEW LOANS COMPANIES are fully ready to offer you any amount of loan funds that you are looking for. Are you under debts review? Are you blacklisted? Are you declined? Do you need a personal loans? Are you in need of home loan? Do you need a consolidation loan? If you are in need of this type of loan funds kindly contact us today for financial solution. Email(cashviewloans@gmail.com).Consolidate all your outstanding bills and debts so that you can be happy, It is better that your financial records are clear than to remain in debts, Every month you use your salary for consolidation and debts settlement which ought not to be so contact us today for consolidation loans. CASH VIEW LOANS COMPANIES offer loans at 3% interest rate, Quickly contact us today for quick loan to consolidate all your debts. CASH VIEW LOANS COMPANIES approves loans very fast so as to enable the funds to be transferred into their bank account. We offer the following Loans to interested and minded individual We can offer you any amount of loan even if you are under debt review We do Business Finance (Business Loan) for up to R20,000.000.00 We do home loans even if you are blacklisted We do personal loans for up to R10,000,000.00 even if you are blacklisted We do Car finance even if you are blacklisted We do 2nd Bonds, Home Improvement and Debt consolidation loans We do Wedding Finances as well also.. We offer the above types of loans all at 3% interest which is one of the cheapest around the World. If interested quickly contact us today with the following documents. (1) COPY OF YOUR ID: (2) PROOF OF RESIDENCE: (3) PAY SLIP: (4) BANK STATEMENT: CONTACT US TODAY VIA EMAIL: (cashviewloans@gmail.com) Dr. Johnson Smith (CEO) CASH VIEW LOANS COMPANIES.


    We at PAY DAY Loan Finance we offers loans at 2% interest rates to all our clients around South Africa,
    Apply for a loan of up R599, 000 to 20million. We offer a large list of different loan
    We offering loan to personal, serious and honest.
    we are 100% guaranteed loan company that can deliver what we promise to our clients.

    Direct contact : (personalpaydaycashloans@gmail.com)

    We are an association of private investors in collaboration
    with the service grants loan PAY DAY FINANCIAL SERVICES LTD.
    We put ourselves at the disposal of the lending world ,

    the maximum period of repayment is 20 years .
    the annual interest rate is 2% . The credit is granted to any person
    who earns a fixed monthly income. For more information about the loan offer,
    please kindly write to us at:


    You can also visit us on (https://web.facebook.com/Quicken-loan-firm)

    NB : Contact directly by e-mail. Quick response. Not serious refrain.
    Thank you to share the message to help those which are in the need.