Startup Jo’burg: Ecosystem Overview (1)

The world is seeing a momentous rise in technology and innovation startup centers. A recent Venture Burn survey illustrates the momentum building in Gauteng. The survey found that more tech startups are based in this province than any other province - Gauteng is now home to 55% of tech startup founders, ahead of the Western Cape’s 37%.

In this blog, we continue the journey of a new entrant in the angel investing space by exploring the various innovation centres (incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces) in Jo’burg’s blooming ecosystem. These are the spaces any aspiring angel investor should consider immersing themselves in to. We've segmented the blog based on areas.


Red Bull Amaphiko

A social initiative birthed to harness the creativity of young entrepreneurs in making a difference within communities. It is a moving incubator, hosted in different cities including: Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

Red Bull Basement (link)

Red Bull Basement offers a platform for the improvement of urban spaces and city life using technology based solution. It is on this platform that research is conducted and knowledge produced through creative collaboration. Red Bull Basement host hatch events and offer residency. Hatch events are one day events that aim to expose entrepreneurs to industry experts and other key stakeholders in the field who on that day impart knowledge through lectures. The residency is a two-month long programmes where 5 selected projects and the makers receive, support, mentorships, knowledge from experts and other tools to help develop the ideas and projects.

National Gazelles

National Gazelles is a SEDA and Department of Small Business Development funded initiative aimed at identifying, supporting and accelerating SMEs in 10 industry sectors aligned with the NDP and SEDA SME strategy. The National Gazelles provide support guided by a detailed business diagnostic and growth strategy. The acceleration process aims to increase a business’ potential through business skills development, productivity and business advice and access to finances.


OPEN offers a next generation, diverse and collaborative working environment that inspires networking, collaboration and innovation between and among creatives and professionals. OPEN is located in Maboneng Precinct and Sandton.


In a variety of locations, including Rosebank, Parktown, Fourways and Sandton, Regus offers flexible, cost-effective co-working spaces.


“Innovating with the science of where.” Esri offers a three-year startup program that helps startups build mapping and location intelligence into their products and businesses using ArcGIS. The program provides access to Esri online services, software, development tools, ready-to-use content, training, support, and co-marketing opportunities.


The Standard Bank Incubator

The Standard Bank incubator not only offers physical facilities but guidance and support through exposure to partners with expertise useful for development of solid enterprises. The incubator is located in Rosebank with virtual incubators spread in different provinces.


“Let’s build your business into an asset of value” a phrase that describes the work done by Aurik. Aurik is a non-equity, fee-based business accelerator based in Rosebank. Through personal, relevant and impactful business growth programmes, Aurik provides tailor-made mentoring, coaching and facilitation to accelerate enterprises into Assets of Value based on unique circumstances and resources. Aurik works best with businesses that have passed the startup point and are generating annual revenues of between 8 and 200 million Rands.

Impact Hub

Based in Rosebank, Impact Hub Johannesburg is family to the world’s largest network focused on providing an inspirational and innovative co-working space as well as incubation programmes and a vibrant community of like-minded people.


General Electric (GE) innovation centre

A world class innovation centre established in 2016, offering a vibrant environment for immersion in the innovation space. Using competitive innovations, practices and methodologies to foster learning, ideation and co-creation for accelerated growth and sustainable development. The innovation centre is located in Melrose.


Travail offers a high performance nomadic workspace suitable for mobile and progressive professionals to work, meet, hang out, network, strategise, innovate and focus.Located in the beautiful Melrose Arch Precinct, Travail offers a calm environment where modern professionals can focus on the task at hand undisturbed.

JOHANNESBURG (Braamfontein, Constitutional Hill and Maboneng)

Awethu Project

A platform for connecting entrepreneurs, corporates and investors.The Awethu Project incubator aims to elevate disadvantaged entrepreneurs whose entrepreneurial potential is assessed through the Awethu Talent Identification Process.There is no requirement for academic or business experience. The incubator is located at the Constitutional Hills Human Rights Precinct.

Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct

Just a short distance from the Wits Braamfontein campus, Tshimologong is a product of the Wits JCSE initiative aimed at promoting the commercialisation of research and development of high-level digital skills to forge successful ICT startups. Tshimologong is a triple threat, an incubator, accelerator and co-working space.

Founder Institute

At the heart of Johannesburg, Founder Institute is an early startup accelerator that channels the expertise of 20-40 seasoned tech-preneurs per semester to aid in the development and acceleration of early startups. Through weekly training sessions, mentors impart valuable knowledge of experiences, latest tactics and provide critical feedback on the progress of startups. Founder Institute also offers graduates a global launch network to aid in the success of startups.

The J&B Hive

A catalyst for creative entrepreneurs in Braamfontein, The J&B Hive offers an inspirational co-working environment where entrepreneurs can blossom by way of workshops, masterclasses and access to business specialist through networking and collaboration. The Hive also offers business support through accelerator programmes.

Founders Factory Africa

Founders Factory Africa is a spin-off from Founders Factory in the UK. They plan to build and scale 100 technology startups across Africa over the next five years. They source entrepreneurs, IP, investment, talent, from across the world to deliver value to over 800 million people in 49 sub-Saharan countries.


Microsoft Bizspark Kempton Park Centre

An incubation centre born from the collaboration of New Generation Mindset, Microsoft Bizspark Network and the City of Ekurhuleni. Bizspark centre offers 60 individuals and SMMEs an opportunity to undergo an incubation process for one year and three year programme for individual entrepreneurs and SMMEs respectively. The focus of the incubation process is to provide mentorship and training in technology, software, programming and business, links to the global Bizspark community and capital. It supports approximately 1665 SMMEs.


Alpha Code

A Sandton based home for fintech entrepreneurs. Alpha Code offers the ultimate working and collaboration environment to facilitate informal mentorship by some of the brightest minds in the industry as well as networking opportunities at the facilitated networking events the host. Alpha Code houses a fast growing community of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs,industry experts and thought leaders.


With 18 years of experience, Raizcorp offers opportunity to entrepreneurs of exceptional potential to gain lessons and guidance in the art of practical business success. Raizcorp has several incubators in South Africa with the Joburg incubator located in Sandton.

Seed Academy

Seed academy is based in Sandton, where entrepreneurs undergo a high-impact incubation process to ensure ultimate marketability and trade-worthiness of early-stage startups. Entrepreneurs undergo extensive personal and professional skills development which is met with access to markets and high levels of transparency and accountability to achieve real ROI. Seed academy provides high-impact business development support to transform early-stage startups from ideation to growth and ultimately to scale.

I’m In

I’m In accelerator is based in Sandton where high growth, black-owned tech enterprises are launched into the South African ICT sector through the provision of limited resources for technically apt entrepreneurs. I’m In facilitates the acceleration of enterprises with viable commercial products through access to seed funding by way of early stage equity as well as mentorship programmes and business development support.

Shanduka Black Umbrellas

A non-profit incubation organisation partnered with the private sector, government and civil society to develop low-level entrepreneurs and 100% owned black enterprises through economic guidance especially in the first three years of their existence. The provision of nationwide incubators aims to address the high failure rate of 100% black owned businesses. Located in Rivonia.

SW7 (Start with Seven)

In Rivonia lies the largest accelerator in Africa, with over 200 tech businesses accelerated with the help of over a 100 tech founder CEO mentors. SW7 harnesses the expertise of a host of mentors to aid startups in becoming deal and investor ready.

Slow in the City

A luxurious space in Rivonia with a modern touch, equipped with technology to accommodate both formal and informal meetings and events. An environment that facilitates the productivity of professionals.

22 on Sloane

Africa’s largest startup campus launched about a year ago by Sir Richard Branson is located at 22 on Sloane, Bryanston. The aim of the campus is to nurture the entrepreneurial mindset, ensure business sustainability and contribute to the development of new industries and jobs through turnkey solutions for scaling, funding and access to markets.The campus is supported by a cohort of experienced mentors, entrepreneurs, scientists, managers, CEOs and funders.



A hub partnered with prominent organisations, Omidyar and Google, JoziHub aims to create a sustainable future for Africa through social and technological movements. JoziHub offers a co-creation space to foster technology related entrepreneurship, innovation, growth, learning and access to resources for entrepreneurs through workshops, talks and learning sessions. JoziHub is located in the Milpark area.


Riversands Incubation Hub

With 3 years in operation, Riversands Incubation Hub has achieved 170 businesses on campus and 2750 jobs created. The large-scale Riversand Incubation Hub is located in Midrand, established through the collaboration of Century Development Properties and National Treasury’s Job Funds. The incubator aims to cultivate committed and talented entrepreneurs through the provision of business support and links to corporate South Africa.

Softstart BTI

Softstart BTI is a Midrand based incubator, funded by the SEDA technology programme. The purpose, to foster tech-business development by addressing areas including technology, operations, market and business through mentorships, coaching and training. Softstart BTI also aims to connect tech-preneurs with government and private sector. They also offer a great working environment/space.



A product of Vumela and Edge Growth, 10X-e offers bootcamps, workshops and other 10X tools to help small scale enterprises evade No Man’s Land - the Bermuda triangle of growth and scale up against the odds. 10X-e is located in Hyde Park.



Through research, lean startup systems, design thinking and new ways of working, Ignitor serves to help startups and corporates build better products faster. Ignitor utilises a host of seasoned entrepreneurs who have product development experience to offer training, coaching and mentorship to early tech-preneurs and corporates. Ignitor has worked with over 150 startups from a variety of industries and it is located in Randburg.


Nomads & Co.

Located in the lovely suburb of Parkhurst, Nomads & Co. offers a flexible drop-in workspace where creatives, freelancers, solo entrepreneurs and small businesses can work, network, collaborate and utilise support, resources and mentorship opportunities to create a meaningful work-life and sustainable businesses.

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