Twenty five young black entrepreneurs in South Africa have completed and graduated from the AccelerateHER programme. The programme is a three-month business accelerator by Seed Engine's Seed Academy and WDB Investment Holdings for female entrepreneurs, and it is sponsored by Shell Downstream South Africa.
“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 Donna Rachelson, CEO at Seed Engine.
The AccelerateHer programme provides an intensive three month programme including developmental workshops, high impact business development support and mentoring from industry specialists and experienced entrepreneurs to fast track the development of the entrepreneurs.
Rachelson added that the programme saw a number of early successes for participating entrepreneurs with four successfully pitching to new clients, three increasing turnovers and expanding their client base, while one business secured a contract with a world-leading diamond company and a leading glass manufacturer. Another participant in the programme is said to have received a proposal request from a major Afrikan food retailer.
“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 at WDB Investment Holdings.
Rachelson added that black women business owners still face immense obstacles and "it’s these women that hold the key to unlocking economic growth in the country and more needs to be done to foster female entrepreneurs.”
The inaugural AccelerateHer programme also concluded with the announcement of its top achievers.