AccelerateHer calls on Ekurhuleni-based, black women entrepreneurs

Applications now open for SA’s most impactful fully-funded business accelerator

Seed Academy in partnership with WDB is calling on young, black female-owned businesses to fast track their success through AccelerateHer – a three-month business accelerator sponsored by Shell Downstream South Africa.

AccelerateHer provides women entrepreneurs with an intensive programme including developmental workshops, high impact business development support and mentoring from industry specialists and experienced entrepreneurs to assist their development.

Following the immense success of the inaugural programme, recruitment for the second AccelerateHer is now underway, which will run in early 2018. Selected entrepreneurs are eligible for access to development opportunities through Shell’s Enterprise and Supplier Development programme and stand the chance of being rewarded R50,000 towards their business. Black, female entrepreneurs based in Ekurhuleni aged between 18 and 35 with a business idea aligned to Shell’s value chain are invited to submit their entries online at, before mid-November 2017.  

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that the development of women entrepreneurs is critical to growing South Africa’s entrepreneurial potential. Currently, only one in three entrepreneurs are women and only 38% of black women owned businesses are formally funded,” notes Seed Engine CEO, Donna Rachelson.


In addition to providing significant support for entrepreneurs, the AccelerateHer programme creates a pipeline for the WDB Seed Fund, an impact fund that provides appropriate funding to growth stage businesses. Through the rigorous 90-day programme Seed Academy is able to identify high potential entrepreneurs and businesses and equip them to be funding ready, creating an effective pipeline for the WDB Seed Fund.     

“By supporting women entrepreneurs who are resilient and able to build sustainable businesses, AccelerateHer aims to make a meaningful impact on some of South Africa’s most pressing economic challenges such as job creation and economic growth, says Rachelson.

“The programme’s real strength lies in producing tangible results. By taking ideas and developing them into viable businesses, AccelerateHer successfully unearths real business opportunities, and we look forward to working with the next group of exceptional entrepreneurs.”

About WDB Seed Fund

WDB Seed Fund is a Section 12J Fund, increases the participation of youth and women entrepreneurs in South Africa’s economy by investing in growth-stage businesses. Partnered with WDB Investment Holdings, the Fund’s mandate is to address the needs of growth-stage businesses while providing investors with ED/SD recognition and tax benefits.

About Seed Academy

Seed Academy believes entrepreneurs are integral to economic growth and are the job creators of the future. With the right training, support and funding they can build successful, sustainable businesses.

Seed Academy understands the needs of entrepreneurs and that these differ dependent on the life stage of the business. They offer developmental workshops, accredited core skills training and support and funding for the three key stages of a business – Ideation, Build & Grow, Grow & Scale – whilst aligning to Corporates’ Transformation strategies.

The programmes have been designed with sustainability in mind – to ensure entrepreneurs are equipped, personally and professionally, to know what it takes to build, grow and scale a business.

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