Digital Skills Academy
Launching a Successful Start-Up: South Africa

Launching a Successful Start-Up: South Africa

Economies across Africa are experiencing tremendous growth powered by technology and South Africa is leading the charge. South Africa represents one of the continent's largest and most advanced technological industry, with particular strength in mobile and financial software development.

As a member of the BRICS grouping of rapidly-developing economies, South Africa is positioned to become a global leader in technological innovation. With the vast majority of the population under the age of thirty-five, the country also has enormous potential in a technologically proficient generation.

Local and international investors alike are recognising this potential and are looking to South Africa for the next greatest tech startups to invest in. It is an opportune time for South African entrepreneurs to take their first steps into the business world with their technology start-ups.

This guide brings you through the different stages of a new business's development with just some of the many resources South Africa offers start-ups.


Preparation is key to success. With the proper tools and resources in place from the outset, you can give your business the best opportunity to prosper. Get to know what resources are available to your new business before you begin.

Incubators & Startup Programmes

A business’s first steps can be some of its most challenging. Incubators and startup programs are designed to guide entrepreneurs through these early hurdles and enable them to focus on developing their unique product.

Springlab is a technology incubator headquartered in Cape Town. They also offer advisory services and execution support for international internet companies.

88mph focuses on mobile based web startups that aim to target African markets. Alongside operations in Cape Town, 88mph has centres in Lagos and Nairobi.

The Innovation Hub supports growing companies in a range of sectors including biosciences, sustainable energy and smart industries.


Sitting across the room from your partners can make on-the-fly decisions that much easier. Even in solo ventures, having access to the experience and expertise of other entrepreneurs makes co-working spaces an invaluable resource.

Cube Work Space has a number of serviced offices and hotdesk solutions in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Gauteng.

OPEN offer co-working spaces designed to create a productive, networking environment for entrepreneurs. The group have spaces in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Impact Hub networks have set up workspaces across Africa and the World. Their site in Johannesburg gives members access to excellent facilities as well as the knowledge base of the Impact Hub's thousands of global members.


Business networks are the lifeblood of every business. Accessing these networks and building relationships has to be part of the development of your business. If you wait until your business is up and running you have left it too late.

Mentor & Business Network Programmes

One of the most valuable resources a new entrepreneur can obtain is the advice of an experienced business person. Mentor programs can pair young entrepreneurs with business veterans. Networking programs allow business owners to discover unexpected opportunities in different sectors. 

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) was established by the Department of Small Business Development to help small businesses in South Africa with access to advisers and business seminars.

Business Skills for South Africa (BSSA) is a non-profit organisation, set up to provide training to SMEs across South Africa. It brings experienced professionals together with entrepreneurs for advice and training.

Sable Network is a knowledge network of experienced South African business professionals that provide mentoring and consultation services to entrepreneurs and developing businesses in South Africa.


As you push your business to the next stage and look to hit the market in a big way your business needs to be rock solid to weather the storms ahead. Guidance and support at this stage are critical. 


Accelerators take businesses with potential and give them everything they need to push through to the next stage of development. With seed capital, intensive training, and expert guidance, an accelerator can launch your business with incredible success.

ALN Ventures works with early-stage businesses to accelerate them to their next stage of development with access to their African Leadership Network

Aurik aims to accelerate companies by building them into an "Asset of Value". Their process is orientated around helping business owners spend less time running their business and more time growing it.

Umbono is a technology accelerator program developed by Google in conjunction with South African business incubator 88mph. It provides seed funding, networking, workspace and visibility to investors for businesses preparing to bring their product to market.

Enterprise Support & Funding

When your business is ready to take its place on the market it will need proper investment to sustain it through to prosperity. The support of an investment partner can bring your business clear through to a bright and sustainable future.

South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry has a number of grants available to small businesses and entrepreneurs that can help get projects off the ground and bring them to the next stage of development.

The Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) is formed from a number of funds and is orientated around providing funding for small and medium enterprises across South Africa.

StartMe is a crowdfunding site designed to help startups raise seed money from online backers. Crowdfunding has a built-in promotional element that gives successfully funded projects greater exposure.  

Have a start-up idea or want to become a digital entrepreneur? Our BSc (Honours) Degree in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation is designed for participants to become the digital leaders of the future.

Find out more about our degrees and short courses:

BSc Degree in Digital Technology and Design

BSc (Honours) Degree in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation