Are you working on something that you think could reshape media or journalism in southern Africa? Do you have skills you could apply to creating great new media? Do you have the energy and commitment to create something great?

We are looking for committed and creative journalists and media makers who are passionate about fixing what isn’t working in southern African media, who want to create new media to serve new audiences, or bring new conversations or ideas to the public.

Jamlab is Africa’s first journalism and media accelerator and innovation lab. Our six-month hothouse accelerator programme for journalism and media innovators offers a unique opportunity to fast-track your initiative. It will provide you with the tools, facilities, contacts, and support necessary to realise your ideas and ambitions.

We welcome applications from the following southern African countries: Angola; Botswana; eSwatini; Lesotho; Madagascar; Malawi; Mauritius; Mozambique; Namibia; Seychelles; Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Applications for the incubator are now open.

This is the first southern Africa programme we are running and will largely take place virtually due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions imposed by numerous countries in Africa and the rest of the world. The programme will run from September 2020 to February 2021 and is supported by Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct and Civicus.

The six teams which selected from southern Africa will receive the following:

  • Virtual mentorship and coaching from experienced media, start-up and tech experts and entrepreneurs.
  • Free places on a three-month media entrepreneurship course
  • Access to a technical support development team.
  • Opportunities to pitch to potential investors, funders and various stakeholders with a MVP (minimum viable product).
  • Access to network which includes but not limited to Programme Alumni.

Sixteen teams have taken part in three iterations of the Jamlab Accelerator Programme in South Africa and five of them succeeded in securing additional investment immediately after the programme.

How do you apply?

Complete this short application form to capture your details and confirm your eligibility and ability to participate.

You will be asked to write a short pitch setting out your idea for a new journalism start-up or describing your existing venture and your ideas for growing and developing it further. Include in this pitch why and how your venture is innovating in the space.

You will also be asked to provide short resumes of your key team, including a line on each one’s role in the venture.

Successful teams will need a steady internet and have a good command of speaking and writing in English.

Deadline for Applications

The deadline for applications is 17:00 (South African Time), Wednesday 2 August 2020.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch in August, 2020.


Who should apply?

Innovators with a great idea and the commitment to create and sustain a new journalism or media venture. Innovators who lead an existing journalism or media venture that they want to grow and develop.

Starting or growing a new venture is challenging work so we encourage people to apply as a team of at least two people who are able to commit all or a substantial majority of their time to their project. Larger teams are also welcomed.

This programme will be based on a significant amount of virtual face-to-face interaction so applicants must must have a stable internet connection.

We are especially keen to see women and women led teams apply.

What counts as ‘journalism and media’?

Your idea or venture could be about making data or knowledge more useful and accessible, it could be about enabling debate and comment. What we now think of as journalism and journalism media was formed a long time ago in the age of print. The journalism of the future will need to look different and work differently. We are not able to support initiatives focused solely on entertainment, but we want to be surprised by new ideas we haven’t seen or thought of before.

What counts as innovation?

We are looking for proposals capable of disrupting the existing media landscape or of reaching communities not being adequately served by existing journalism and media, or even of transforming how journalism and media is and has been practiced. So we are looking for new ideas that are capable of leading to change in the how, what and who of journalism and media today. Your innovation may rely on using new technologies or even on developing them but it doesn’t have to.

Do I need to be an entrepreneur to apply?

Your project can be for-profit or not-for-profit. Whether you are an entrepreneur who needs a market to sustain a journalism business or a social entrepreneur who envisages donations supporting their venture, you will need to develop a strong idea of how you are going to reach the people who will use your product or service, why they will want to use it, who will pay for it and who will invest in it. You will also need to committed to the highest standards of media ethics.

Can I apply if I am a full-time student?

No, but part-time students are welcome to apply.

Can I apply if I have already received funding from another organisation?

Yes, you can.

Which countries in Africa are eligible to apply?

This is a pilot programme for a virtual accelerator programme. Only applicants from the following countries can apply: Angola; Botswana; eSwatini; Lesotho; Madagascar; Malawi; Mauritius; Mozambique; Namibia; Seychelles; Zambia and Zimbabwe.

I have a great idea and the commitment to do this but I can’t support myself for six months while I work on developing it on the Fellowship. Can you help?

We have some limited funds for small bursaries so please apply.

Who is organising the programme?

The JAP southern Africa is run by Wits Journalism with the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct and supported by Civicus.


Where do I get more information?

Follow us: @jamlabafrica on Twitter and Facebook

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