1GIANTleap is looking to incubate SA’s next big techpreneur

Startup incubator 1GIANTleap has opened applications for its "SA's next tech hero" startup programme, aimed at empowering techpreneurs to realise their concepts in three months

You have until Monday to apply for the accelerator programme, which is set to start on Thursday, 8 June for tech entrepreneurs based in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The criteria isn’t as complicated as those for some other accelerator programmes, with 1GIANTleap head Moniek van Erven saying applicants only need to come up with an idea that will potentially disrupt the tech industry on the continent.

“If you have an idea that you think will disrupt the African continent and you have the courage to test and execute your idea, we want you to apply,” she says.

The 12-week programme starts with a rigorous screening and selection process known as 1GIANTleap’s EST (Entrepreneur Selection Tool). It includes testing the entrepreneurs on their innate entrepreneurial qualities, their spark, their business idea, their personal circumstances and their commitment, both online and offline.

“One of the risks you run as an entrepreneur is to create something that nobody wants,” van Erven says.

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“For sure, you love your own idea, but how do you make sure that you convert it into a proven business concept in as little time as possible, with the least possible investment? Our answer includes bootcamps on steroids and mentorship by experienced tech entrepreneurs; sales support by linking our entrepreneurs to corporate clients, other SMEs, or individual customers; and product development support through our tech partner VSpace.”

At the end of the 12-week programme, the entrepreneurs pitch their proven concept to an investment board in order to obtain a spot in the 1GIANTleap 12-month program.

The most convincing and talented entrepreneurs will then be invited back to continue their journey with the incubator.

To date, 1GIANTleap has incubated 16 startups in the tech and green innovation industries that have gone on to build viable tech and green businesses. In working with these startups the learning has been exponential and has contributed greatly to 1GIANTleap finding the “sweet spot” that success lies on the other side of fear.

“1GIANTleap’s mentors are entrepreneurs themselves so they know the startup challenges inside out. Working with them was inspirational as they are very driven and genuinely dedicated to helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals,” says Cebisile Madi, founder of Counter9, a medicine delivery app.

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Around R1,7 billion was invested into African startups last year, of which 80% of the entrepreneurs hailed from Kenya, Nigeria and SA.

Both the investment amount and the number of startups increased compared to the previous year, illustrating a global interest in the Africa’s innovations.

Entrepreneurs can apply here: www.1giantleapstartups.co.za/apply