Accelerator 1



Digital Accelerator for Tech & Innovation Startups originating from townships


We build rather than just support startups. We work alongside companies to write code, make sales calls and close commercial contracts. As a venture-builder that’s been in the business for more than four years, we know what founders need to build and scale their businesses. We’ve taken all our learnings and knowledge and packaged it into a 20-week programme. We aim to get companies investment-ready and funded within five months of starting our programme. 

Philani Sangweni, Advisory Board Member During the SA SME Accelerator - 2019
BCom (Accounting); Executive MBA (INSEAD)


We begin the 8-week Core Phase with a 1-week period of workshopping and mentorship, after which the final 10 startups are chosen to have a high touch rapid building, and scaling period, provided digitally. 
The other 20 startups continue with mentoring and coaching.

This is followed by the Extended Phase, a 12-week period of continued mentorship and accountability for the top 10 startups.


30 Aug: Applications close (Extended from 21st)
4 Sep: Successful applicants announced
14 – 18 Sep: 1st week of Core Phase
28 Sep – 12 Nov: Core phase continued
13 Nov: Demo Day
16 Nov – 5 Feb: Extended phase for Final 10 Startups only

Dates subject to change.

We do not care a lot about:

Revenue: Most accelerators and incubators claim that revenue is not critically important, but in reality try to find the most-developed startups they can to join their programs.

We are truly not interested in whether the startups have revenue or not.

Market-ready products: Most accelerators and incubators look for startups with the most market-ready products already in use with their market. 

We are not interested in how beautiful the products are, and much more so with whether the Founders bothered to work on building a product at all.

We care a lot about:

Founders who are brilliant in every way, who show evidence of smarts, focus, intensity, drive, passion and character.

Founders who show unparalleled work ethic, who have the ability to work many more hours than their peers and be happy doing so.

Founders who show clear signs of true growth ambition, who are not looking to build lifestyle businesses or simply make themselves some money.

Business ideas that make sense as businesses and not simply as projects.

Business ideas that have been actioned in some respect. While we are not sticky about products that are market-ready, we need to see an indication of both ability to build things, and initiative to build things. So we look for startups that have taken the actions necessary to build a product, even if it is not beautifully presented.

Startups Get

Dedicated time and active business-building with our experts and advisors, including time with software architects, designers and other product-builders.

Post-programme mentorship with our advisors.

R100,000 in digital infrastructure services.

Access to potential partner and client networks, valuable startup-specific resources, and investors.

Access to our co-working spaces.


Business must be founded by South African passport holders.

Business must be at least 51% black-owned.

Either founded in a township, operating in a township or if the founders were born in a township.

Scalable idea, using tech or other innovations as a core component of the business – no ‘small businesses’, we’re looking for serious startups that want to grow big.

The Akro Accelerate Team

Akro Team that ran the Akro/SA SME Fund Accelerator 2019

Philani Sangweni is an ex-corporate executive and management consultant, having worked at Accenture as a Senior Manager and at education finance company, Fundi, as Chief Operating Officer. Philani has worked closely with technology startup companies within these roles from an investment standpoint and has also started several companies of his own. Philani holds an Executive MBA from INSEAD. 

Pieter Strydom is a CA(SA), EdTech startup founder and passionate community-builder. He combines his corporate experience and knowledge across multiple industries with a strong entrepreneurial track record, to deliver unique insights to startups that are getting started on their journey. Pieter was part of the initial group of six UCT-alums that co-founded Akro. 

Pieter Strydom (Finance & Strategy Mentor)
& Philani Sangweni (Advisory Board Member)

Accelerator 2

Jason Basel

Jason Basel is a passionate entrepreneur, co-founder of EduOne, South Africa’s biggest student-centric platform with over 2.7 million users. As CEO of this fast-growing Edtech/Fintech startup, Jason brings practical, hands-on knowledge and experience across a wide range of different business operations, including legal, product development, finance, sales and business development. This multifaceted skill set allows him to advise and assist startups across a diverse spectrum of challenges they face.

Accelerator 3

Mushambi Mutuma

Mushambi Mutuma is a serial tech entrepreneur, speaker, and author. He is the co founder and MD of Altivex Creative Foundry, which provides innovative, digital solutions to clients globally, to maximize growth. He has a demonstrated track record in the startup accelerator space, having advised multiple accelerators and incubators including the Innovation Hub, Standard Bank Incubator and Endeavor.

Accelerator 4

Whitney Tennant

Whitney Tennant has over 9 years in software development experience and is former CTO for an EdTech startup in the United States. She cares about leveraging technical knowledge for social change. Whitney has recently started her own software development company and enjoys assisting other founders expand their potential. She works with NGOs: Women in Tech,  Coder Level Up and is an executive leader of PyConZA – South Africa’s largest open source conference.

Our partners mean the world to us, and together with Imvelo Ventures, we give you the opportunity to put your best foot forward.
A prize of R100 000* for each of the top 3 startups will be awarded on the Demo Day pitch session on 6 November 2020.
*Subject to discretion of Imvelo Ventures

Accelerator 5

We have worked with fantastic partners in the past including:

Accelerator 6

Successful startups include:
Dentx, SpoonMoney, Jobox, Impeelo,, Hot Nozzle, Skudu

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