AccelerateHer programme concludes with lasting impact
The inaugural Seed Academy/WDB AccelerateHer programme, a three-month business accelerator for female entrepreneurs, sponsored by Shell Downstream South Africa concluded by notching up a string of successes for young black female owned businesses. The fully-funded AccelerateHer programme provided 25 black female entrepreneurs with an intensive programme including developmental workshops, high impact business development support and mentoring from industry specialists and experienced entrepreneurs to fast track their development.
Seed Engine CEO, Donna Rachelson notes that the rigorous 90-day programme has seen an impressive 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 received a proposal request from a major African food retailer, two fledgling businesses have since become industry association members and a further two successfully secured the required industry licenses vital to their continued operations. "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," explains Rachelson.
Social Investment Manager at Shell South Africa, Ntobeko Mogadime explains that Shell was a proud sponsor of AccelerateHer because of its strong focus on women entrepreneurs as only one in three South African businesses are owned and run by women. "I'm impressed with the relationships we've formed in a relatively short space of time and the passion and dedication exhibited by all involved and we look forward to continuing these relationships to make sure we help more women in the country succeed in starting and sustaining viable businesses," she says.
She says that the programme drew over 900 entries, 400 of which came from other African countries: "Producing tangible results is first and foremost, and the AccelerateHer programme for Shell has generated some excellent results. The ethos of this programme is to take ideas and develop them into viable businesses. AcceleratorHer has very successfully, in only 90 days, developed real business opportunities."