Dates: Nov 2018 - Feb 2019 | Times: 9.00am to 12.00pm on Mondays

Venue: OPEN, 138 West Street, Sandton, Johannesburg

Duration: 12 weeks, one morning a week

Application Deadline: 18h00, Monday 22 October 2018

Introduction to the Lionesses of Africa Accelerator

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Let’s help women entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level

For many women entrepreneurs, preparing to take their digital businesses to the next level and into large-scale company supply chains is a challenge. What is needed is specialist training, development and advice from experienced women business owners who have a wealth of expertise to share. This is where the Lionesses of Africa Digital Accelerator programme, powered by Siemens, comes in. This 12 week women-focused growth programme aims to improve the lives and economic prospects of South Africa’s digital women entrepreneurs by practically helping them to prepare their businesses to become part of major corporate supply chains. 

The Lionesses of Africa Digital Accelerator programme is one part of our recently launched ‘Kukua Programme’ - Kukua meaning ‘To Grow’ in Swahili. The programme is informed by our community of 700,000+ women entrepreneurs across 54 African countries and the Diaspora. The Kukua Programme is truly unique in that it is developed for women by women; is specific to the needs of women entrepreneurs; is provided to women entrepreneurs for free; and importantly is a radical departure from existing initiatives that are clearly under delivering. I passionately believe the Kukua Programme can significantly impact on the number of high growth potential women founded business contributing to the local economies of Africa’s cities.

— Melanie Hawken, founder & CEO, Lionesses of Africa

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for consideration on the Lionesses of Africa Digital Accelerator, powered by Siemens, the 30 women entrepreneurs selected to embark on this programme will have South African registered businesses and expertise that falls into a select number of business categories - these include:

  • Digital monitoring and tracking solutions

  • Digital billing and payment tracking solutions

  • Digital reporting systems and solutions

  • System conditioning monitoring

  • Digital factories

  • Digital control systems

  • HR management and development digital solutions

  • Digital BEE Supplier Evaluation and Assessment

  • Digital communication systems

  • Digital graphic design

  • OHS digital app development (including Toolbox talks)

  • Digital app development

  • Digital timesheet tracking

  • Digital SMME Micro Enterprise Management solutions

Applicants must have an existing business and have been trading successfully for at least 12 months and will typically have been in business for 2 years or more (although there may be exceptions to this criteria). Applicants must complete the application form which will then be reviewed. Successful applicants will be notified in writing and advised of next steps.

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Programme Content

The Accelerator programme starts with an online Gap Analysis which each participant undertakes prior to commencement of the formal programme, the aim being to assess key areas of strength and weakness in each individual business. This information then helps to inform the level of support needed for each woman entrepreneur as the programme rolls out and the programme content is refined. Thereafter, the 12 weekly modules of content and learning to be covered in the programme include:

  • Session 1 - Induction session and introduction to the programme from the impact partners

  • Session 2 - Business modelling and strategy development for growth

  • Session 3 - Understanding legal contracting best practice

  • Session 4 - Developing an effective project management strategy and framework for growth

  • Session 5 - Effective human resource and skills development management

  • Session 6 - Developing a high impact sales and marketing strategy that wins business

  • Session 7 - Financial and risk management

  • Session 8 - Understanding quality standards and compliance

  • Session 9 - Next generation marketing - e-commerce and how to build a successful online retail/sales model

  • Session 10 - Navigating and preparing for the procurement process

  • Session 11 - Ideation, new product development & testing processes - a Masterclass

  • Session 12 - Preparing for the Investor Pitch

  • Showcase and Demo Day session, attended by senior executives from Siemens, and also representatives from their respective client/partner networks in Johannesburg.

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Venue: OPEN, Sandton, Johannesburg


The venue for the Lionesses of Africa Digital Accelerator will be OPEN, at 138 West Street, Sandton, situated opposite Sandton Gautrain Station and Nelson Mandela Square, with easy access to public transport, shops and restaurants. OPEN environments are for working, meeting and innovating – designed for physical and virtual networking. OPEN creates a community that is entrepreneurial, creative and inspiring. Visit OPEN Website