ACCELERATOR IN NUMBERS
Since inception in 2017, we held three successful accelerator cohorts of South African teams only. In 2020 we held our first regional virtual programme with teams from southern African countries such as Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and eSwantini.
ARE LOOKING FOR
We are looking for committed and creative journalists and media makers who are passionate about fixing what isn’t working in sub-Saharan African media, who want to create new media to serve new audiences, or bring new conversations or ideas to the public
WHAT DO YOU GET
Mentorship and coaching
from experienced media, start-up and tech experts and entrepreneurs.
Free places on a
three-month media entrepreneurship course.
Free workspace at the
Tshimologong Precinct co-working space.
technical support development team.
Opportunities to pitch to
potential investors, funders and various stakeholders with an MVP (minimum viable product).
Access to network,
which includes but not limited to Programme Alumni.
TIMELINE 2021 – 2022
Please take note of the timelines for the fifth Jamlab Accelerator Programme.
Accelerator open call for applications from startups in sub-Saharan Africa
Submission deadline for applications is 17:00 (Central African Time).
Application shortlisted and successful Applicants notified.
First day of induction.
This is the last day of the six month programme.
Have a look at some of the startups that are currently on the accelerator programme.
This small database also includes all the alumni teams that have since graduated from the programme.
Be the first to know when our new call for applications opens.
Missed the previous Jamlab Demo Day? Watch presentations from our most recent graduating cohort.
Apply today to become part of sub-Saharan Africa’s innovative game-changing media innovators and ecosystem.
Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about the accelerator programme
1. Who should apply?
Innovators, media makers and entrepreneurs with a great idea and the commitment to create and sustain a new journalism or media venture. Innovators, media makers and entrepreneurs 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 have a stable internet connection.
We are especially keen to see women and women led teams apply.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 commit to the highest standards of media ethics.
5. Can I apply if I am a full-time student?
No, but part-time students are welcome to apply.
6. Can I apply if I have already received funding from another organisation?
Yes, you can.
7. Which countries in Africa are eligible to apply?
This will be our fifth cohort, but our second iteration of a virtual accelerator programme. We welcome applications from all countries across sub-Saharan Africa, particularly those in Benin; Burkina Faso; Cote de Ivoire; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Lesotho; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone Togo and Zambia.
8. 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.
9. Who is organising the programme?
The Jamlab Accelerator Programme sub-Saharan Africa is run by Wits Journalism, supported by the “Consortium for Human Rights and Media in Africa (Charm)”, funded through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
WHAT OUR ALUMNI ARE SAYING
My experience at Jamlab reinforced my mission to transform the startup landscape through storytelling. I enjoyed connecting with like-minded people and most importantly learning how to be a better storyteller.
The impact Jamlab has on media entrepreneurs who go through the acceleration programme is impressive. As one of those entrepreneurs, I know that our company would have struggled to go beyond concept stage without assistance. In order to survive we needed an accelerator project that understood our context, firstly as women in media and secondly the context within which our business existed. The Accelerator programme met us at our point of need.
Starting something during a pandemic can be isolating. I’m grateful to the Jamlab programme for giving me access to a supportive community of fellow entrepreneurs when I most needed it. Highly recommended.
‘The Accelerator programme was an invigorating programme that challenged us to examine our assumptions about business. We were inspired by the work out digital media entrepreneurs in our group were pursuing and are now thinking much more strategically about our project’s growth.’
“The program was crucial to us. It allowed us to focus on the basics and rework and revamp our product and roadmap, resulting on a great reduction of the time-to-market of our artificial intelligence based fact-checking solution.”
“Another plus from Jamlab was the push towards developing a dashboard of metrics; at the end of the programme QW+ can report that journalists have interacted with our database over 600 times.”
Being part of the Jamlab Accelerator and Tshimologong community is definitely a major milestone. We just spent 6 months learning from, and listening to, some of the best in the journalism and media space. What a humbling experience which I hope to share with as many people as I can.”
“The Jamlab Accelerator Programme has helped us to hone the entrepreneurship skill necessary to grow and run a sustainable business, allowing us to focus our energies on only what is truly important for our success.”
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