SW7 teams up with Standard Bank, Microsoft Bizspark team up to launch ‘blue chip’ accelerator

South African startup incubator SW7 has teamed up with Standard Bank and Microsoft Bizspark to launch a new accelerator to the recently-opened Standard Bank Incubator in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

The partnership comes less than a year after SW7 first opened its doors and just months after Standard Bank launched its Playroom innovation hub.

“We are very excited to launch this initiative with Standard Bank. Getting the support of the leading bank in Africa will help us a lot with the challenges around gaining access to market and raising funding, both within the community and for the high growth businesses” says Odette Jones, co-Founder of Sw7. “Over the last three years we have worked hard to increase both the quality of the businesses attending and the structure and content of the accelerator. Adding access to the Standard Bank Incubator eco-system to the extensive support we are getting through the Microsoft Bizspark programme will be a fantastic boost to the high growth businesses we are working with. The ideal applicant will be a technology business that has a product in the market that is less than five years old, and is poised for significant growth. We will consider some pre-revenue businesses, but the focus will really be for post revenue products”

Keith Jones, Co-Founder, says “We believe the value this Sw7 Accelerate offers has no peers in this region. The accelerator offers access to a mentor community of sixty-five technology CEO’s, the Microsoft Bizspark and Standard Bank Incubator eco-systems, and structured content to define optimal strategy of the business based on pragmatic hands-on experience. The support from our sponsors also means the accelerator is financially accessible. Our goal is to engage with and help innovative businesses realize their potential and take advantage of the booming innovation market”

Keith reckons this may well be the first “proper” blue chip tech accelerator alliance in the region. That said, Standard Bank isn’t the only one interested in the startup space. In late 2014, the Silicon Cape Initiative received R3-million in funding, which was aimed at creating a proper structure for the organisation.

Applications for the accelerator are open until 17 May. The programme kicks off on 4 June and runs over nine weeks, once a week, on a Thursday evening, from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.



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