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Startup news

  • Applications to the Spark* South Africa 2018 Accelerator Programme now open

    Spark* International, an initiative of Australian international development non-profit YGAP, has opened applications to its Spark* South Africa 2018 Accelerator Programme. The five-day programme will take place in Johannesburg between 15 and 20 April. Interested entrepreneurs have until 4 March to apply and can do so here. The accelerator is aimed at South African entrepreneurs who are looking to scale and are currently making an impact in education, health and job creation. Selected Spark* entrepreneurs will be advanced into a growth track where they will get access to grants worth up to $AUD25 000 Spark* aims to find, accelerate, support and connect startups. Since the...

  • Ghanaian agritech startup AgroCenta eyes expansion on continent with Nigeria pilot

    After a stellar 2017, Ghanaian agritech startup AgroCenta has set its sights on expanding to Nigeria this year. AgroCenta is built around online trading platform AgroTrade, which connects smallholder farmers to a larger structured market. Last year the startup was selected to represent Ghana at global pitching competition Seedstars World. The startup currently has about 10 000 smallholder farmers (all in Ghana) on its platform and plans to launch a pilot in the third quarter of this year. "Expansion into Nigeria in 2018 will focus on working with an initial 100 000 smallholder farmers, connecting them to about six large, medium and small scale off-takers to sell directly," says...

  • Tony Elemu Foundation launches call for 2018 entrepreneurship programme

    The Tony Elemu Foundation (TEF) has opened applications to the fourth cohort of its $100-million Entrepreneurship Development Programme. The Nigerian foundation announced the call on Monday on Twitter. The programme kicks off in May and runs until December. Interested entrepreneurs have until midnight on 1 March to submit their applications (apply here). Application is open to African citizens who are over 18 years old and are based in Africa. Applicants must be running a for-profit business that is no more than three years old. Participants of the Entrepreneurship Development Programme will each get $5 000 in seed funding The foundation will select a total of 1000 entrepreneurs to...

  • Here are 11 challenges and competitions SA entrepreneurs can enter in 2018

    Wanna kick start your new year? Why not enter an innovation challenge or competition? Besides being a chance to gain media exposure, it's also a great way to raise funding for your startup. In addition, startups also stand to benefit from incubation and even corporate partnerships with the respective challenge sponsors. With an increasing number of innovation challenges and competitions popping up, here are  a few you can look to applying to this year. Seedstars World: With up to $1-million in equity investment up for grabs, this Swiss global startup competition for emerging markets is definitely one you want to apply to. Chivas Ventures: Currently in its fourth year,...

  • Meet the five Chivas Venture 2018 South African finalists

    Chivas Regal has announced the five SA finalists that have been selected to pitch next month at the local finals of its $1-million global social entrepreneurship competition the Chivas Venture. “Each of these finalists are proof that sustainability, enterprise and profit can be a strong force for good,” Chivas Regal marketing manager for South Africa Shelley Reeves said in a press release. The finalists were selected from over 600 applications -- with South Africa drawing the highest number of entries among the 30 participating countries -- and will next month get to pitch in front of a panel of judges for an opportunity to represent the country at the grand...

  • Startups need more than just capital to grow says Seedstars’ Michael Weber

    What's an entrepreneurs biggest need? Most people will probably say it's access to finance. But Seedstars co-founder and global venture builder Michael Weber says what entrepreneurs need most is support, talent and training. Ventureburn caught up with the Seedstars co-founder at the Seedstars regional summit in Maputo, Mozambique last Thursday. In a wide ranging chat on Seedstars' approach to investment, he shared his thoughts on what he's learnt from Seedstars participants. "Money is just one thing to execute the plan, but it’s not how things are going to be made right," he says. He points out that startups that come through the programme are...

  • ‘Joburg 10XE accelerator helped me add 50 employees in nine months’

    Entrepreneur Michael Roberts has been able to grow his software company from 90 to 140 people in just nine months, thanks to the Johannesburg-based accelerator 10XE. "(The accelerator) teaches you to move beyond the typical entrepreneur mindset of working long hours for seven days a week," says Roberts, whose four-year old company Khonology has been on the 18-month programme for the last eight months. He says the accelerator -- which was launched in December last year by founding director of Edge Growth Jason Goldberg-- helped him put more efficient systems in place and impress upon him the need to hire more skilled and competent individuals. The biggest impact 10XE has...

  • Seedstars to expand network of hubs, with Joburg and Dar es Salaam next

    Swiss-based global entrepreneurship platform Seedstars will next year strengthen its focus on sourcing investment deals for startups and to expanding its network of co-working hubs for Seedstars alumni. Seedstars regional manager for Africa, Claudia Makadristo revealed the plans to Ventureburn at the Seedstar’s Africa regional summit which was held in Maputo, Mozambique on Thursday (14 December). Although the platform will continue with the pitching competition -- which Makadristo described as the gatekeeper of everything that happens at Seedstars -- the organisation plans to next year shift its focus to doing more investment deals and adding more Seedspaces. Read more: Seedspace in drive to buy up, partner with...

  • No plans right now for Google to invest in startups says Launchpad Accelerator head

    Google has no plans at present to invest money in the startups it assists through its two-year old accelerator initiative, says Google Launchpad Accelerator programme manager Josh Yellin. "Right now there are no plans to (take equity in startups). I wouldn't say it would never happen, but it's not what we're trying to do right now," said Yellin, speaking to Ventureburn last week in Warsaw, Poland during a graduation event for the programme's fourth cohort. Yellin said Google is rather looking to use the programme -- targets existing growth-stage startups from emerging markets -- to learn from emerging market startup on how it can...

  • SA startups Citizen Justice Network, Lady Liberty take top honours at HiiL challenge

    Two South African startups from won top honours at The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law’s (HiiL) annual Innovating Justice Forum held earlier this month, when they were declared the winner and runner-up of the global Innovating Justice Challenge 2017. HiiL revealed in a press release today that the winner of the Innovating Justice Challenge was announced as South Africa’s Citizen Justice Network -- an initiative that expands upon the nexus of journalism and the spreading of legal information. Citizen Justice Network trains community paralegals to be radio journalists, and then pairs these paralegals with community radio stations so that vital social...