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Sw7, Amazon Web Services launch virtual B2B technology business accelerator

Featured image, left to right: Sw7 co-founders Odette Jones and Keith Jones (Global Innovation Path via Youtube)

Joburg-based tech accelerator Sw7 and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have partnered to launch a virtual B2B technology business accelerator which they claim to be Africa’s first.

The two organisations said in a joint statement yesterday that the accelerator will assist founders of B2B and software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology businesses to scale using AWS business support.

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Through AWS Activate, Amazon Web Services provide startups with low-cost, easy-to-use infrastructure needed to grow and scale.

The AWS Activate programme gives startups the resources they need to quickly get started on AWS, these include credits, training and support.

Application for the accelerator will close on 15 December

Sw7 said in the statement that feedback it has received from a number of technology cohorts suggests that traditional accelerator programmes are often exclusive, inflexible, interrupt business operations and serve less than one percent of technology markets.

In addition, Sw7 said they require time-off for extended periods to attend boot-camps on dates and times outside of the startup’s availability.

Sw7 co-founder Odette Jones (pictured above, left with Sw7 co-founder Keith Jones) said the accelerator is excited to team up with AWS to offer an “inclusive, community-supported and data driven approach” that assists B2B technology businesses to effectively scale.

“Businesses pay for the level of support they want without giving up equity and avoid the constraints imposed by traditional programme-centric approaches. This cost-based model is appealing — it’s the best of all worlds,” said Jones.

Sw7 co-founder Keith Jones said the objective key result (OKR) structure Sw7 uses, enables it to move away from a programme-centric curriculum and batch-based transmit approach.

Instead it will offer a more business-needs and outcomes-based approach where content, tools and templates are curated for each business, offering market and sector relevant support in context.

“This makes engagements with our mentor pool more effective as they have clarity about the status and goals of each business. High growth is all about focus and execution once you have a clear direction. Sw7 offers a strategy execution approach to support this,” he added.

The accelerator will have three levels of membership and support, namely: business community, business growth and business scale.

Business Community

Business Community is for technology businesses and founders at all life stages, it offers shared insights and learnings, business assessments, additional sector and life stage relevant content and reports at no cost to the business.

Businesses can get up to $3000 in AWS Activate credits for up to one year, including two months of AWS business support.

Business Growth

Business Growth offers access to Sw7 hosted mentor-led digital dial-ins and digital workshops, full access to the Sw7 acceleration platform which includes sector and life stage relevant tools, templates, content, reports and AWS hosting credits of up to $10 000 and up to $5000 in AWS business support for one year.

This level is aimed at technology business at all life stages wishing to move their business forward in a more structured way and costs $50 per month with an initial payment of three months.

Business Scale

Business Scale offers one-on-one strategy workshops, access to Sw7 hosted mentor sessions, board advisory, strategy setup and execution through the Sw7 platform, as well as $15 000 Activate credits for up to two years to build on AWS, with the possibility of increasing the AWS Activate credits to $100 000 for eligible businesses.

It also includes up to $5000 worth of dedicated technical support on-line for up to one year, “startup spotlight” nominations for free PR and access to new markets with Startup Marketplace (SaaS Sellers’ market).

As part of this, international financial solutions firm Capital Connect will offer access to a global pool of venture capitalist. Business Scale is aimed at post-revenue technology businesses with some traction and will be limited to 20 businesses for the three-month pilot phase.

Half of the Business Scale fees are covered by AWS so founders will only pay $200 monthly for three months paid up front, and not the listed $400 per month.

Access to Business Community will be open to all applicants and will be offered on an ongoing basis. The initial phase of Business Growth and Business Scale will be offered to founders based in South Africa.

Recruitment will be open until 15 December, with the programme set to start on 13 January and end on 30 April with a two-week break over Easter. Those looking to apply can do so here.

Featured image, left to right: Sw7 co-founders Odette Jones and Keith Jones (Global Innovation Path via Youtube)

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