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Africa’s Top 21 Startup Accelerators You Should Know [2023]

Are you looking for capital and/or mentorship for your startup? Africa’s startup ecosystem is growing so fast it now has dozens of incubators and accelerators to choose from. Beyond funding, Africa’s startup accelerators also offer founders incredible valuable support for product development, sales and marketing.

Whether you are looking to find a co-founder, build your MVP and/or get the seed money you need to scale up, startup accelerators are the way to go.

Who are they for? How much funding can you actually receive?

In this article we have listed our top 21 startup accelerators in Africa. So, if you haven’t yet started to apply, here is a good place to start learning about them.

Accelerator vs. Incubator: What’s The Difference?

Using the terms “accelerator” and “incubator” interchangeably is a common mistake. Whilst they are similar and sometimes can be found under the same roof (organisation), they are very different.

Startup Incubators

As the name suggests, startup incubators are tailored more to startups still in their incubation period for their ideas. As such, incubators help startup founders turn their ideas into early working prototype versions of a product or service.

Joining an incubator comes with many perks for early stage businesses. For example, incubators will typically let you use office spaces for twelve months, and in some cases every several years. 

Yet, not all incubators are equal. Some might be specialised on a specific industry, and others on a specific expertise: do you want to work on your Minimal Viable Product (MVP), or are you looking for help to kick-start your sales and marketing efforts?

Therefore, if you’re interested in joining an incubator program, you should first ask for feedback from founders who are currently in the program. You should find out how long they’ve been with the program and what growth they have achieved with its help. 

Incubators are designed to turn business ideas into prototypes
Incubators are designed to turn business ideas into prototypes

Startup Accelerators

In contrast, startup accelerators are ideal for startups that have already gathered some momentum. That’s why startup accelerators are best for startups with a complete cofounding team, a MVP, and that are looking to accelerate their growth (commercialise their product / service). 

Accelerator programs usually take place between a few weeks to a couple of months. In that time, they’ll give you access to their network, connections, knowledge, and a relatively small amount of funding for your startup. 

When looking for an accelerator program, it is crucial to do your research. Identify the program’s list of alumni. Who among their startups experienced success? How many failed? Who are in their list of mentors, and what accomplishments do these people have that you think would help you succeed in your business?

Taking the time to find the best-fit startup accelerator for your business is essential. After all, you’ll be trusting these people to help your business succeed. 

startup accelerator pros and cons
YC’s Demo Day

Africa’s Top 21 Startup Accelerators

Here’s a summary table of our top 21 startup accelerators in Africa (in alphabetical order):

NameLocationProgram lengthInvestment sizeSector focus
(if any)
Africa Mobility InitiativeVaries by cohort (Kenya, Uganda in 2021-22)6 months$25,000Smart cities
Akro AccelerateSouth Africa20 weeksUp to ZAR 100kSector agnostic
AntlerKenya6 months$100,000Sector agnostic
AUC Venture LabEgypt16 weeksNoneSector agnostic + Fintech
Co-Creation HubNigeria12 weeksUp to $250,000Sector agnostic
Cortex HubSouth Africa12 monthsN/ASector agnostic
Falak StartupsEgyptN/AEGP 2,000,000Sector agnostic + Fintech
Founder Institute15 countries4 monthsNone *Sector agnostic
GreenhouseNigeria4-6 monthsN/ASector agnostic **
Google For StartupsNigeria3 monthsNoneMachine learning, AI
HSevenMorocco6 months€150k – €1.5 millionSector agnostic
Innovation EdgeSouth AfricaN/AZAR 1 million (in average)EdTech
Innovate VenturesSomalia12 weeksN/ASector agnostic
MEST AfricaGhanaUp to 12 months$50k – $250kSector agnostic
mlabSouth Africa4 weeksup to ZAR 500kSector agnostic
Orange FabTunisia12 weeks€15kSector agnostic
Smart LabTanzania3 monthsNoneSector agnostic
StartupBootcamp AfritechPan-Africa3 monthsNoneSector agnostic (preference for deeptech)
Startup Reactor (Innoventures)Egypt6 monthsDiscretionarySector agnostic
Startup Wise GuysRwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana5 monthsUp to €65kSaaS
The Baobab NetworkKenya12 week$50kSector agnostic

* Founder Institute does not invest directly

** Greenhouse runs different accelerator programs, each with different terms and duration

1. Africa Mobility Initiative

Where? Kenya, Uganda

Africa Mobility Initiative (AMI) is one of Africa’s top startup accelerators for startups operating in Smart Cities and urbanisation industries.

AMI’s accelerator program changes its location for each cohort. The latest (2021-22) was welcoming 8 startups with a priority for those from Uganda and Kenya.

During the 6-month program, founders participate to immersion trips, seminars and benefit from mentorship and guidance from industry experts.

In addition to these, successful startups may also receive $25,000 funding, as well as additional funding from external investors at Demo Day.

2. Akro Accelerate

south africa's startup accelerators

Where? South Africa

Backed by the VC fund Imelo Ventures, AKRO Accelerate is one of South Africa’s startup incubators and accelerators that solely focuses on entrepreneurs originating from townships.

Moreover, the program is divided in 2 phases:

  • A 8-week incubation where startups receive mentorship and guidance, at the end of which the 10 most successful startups are selected to take part to the 2nd part of the program
  • A 12-week accelerator program where successful applicants benefit from hands-on support to build their product and prepare for Demo Day.

Eventually, the top 3 most successful startups at Demo Day receive a ZAR 100,000 investment from the accelerator.

3. Antler

Where? Kenya

Antler is a global startup accelerator with programs in various countries around the world, from Europe to Asia Pacific, North America and Africa.

Antler’s African chapter is located in Nairobi, Kenya.

Although they operate multiple chapters globally, Antler’s 6-month accelerator programs runs very much the same way: founders get a living expense stipend ($1,500 per month in Nairobi) for the duration of the program, in addition to an upfront investment in return for a percentage of the company. In Nairobi, startups receive $100,000 in return for 20%.

4. AUC Venture Lab

Where? Egypt

AUC Venture Lab is The American University in Cairo’s own startup accelerator program.

AUC actually runs 2 separate accelerator programs. Both are 16-weeks long and include mentorship, access to industry experts, corporates and potential investors.

One is more or less sector agnostic and focuses on industries like ecommerce, healthtech, logistics, AI, foodtech and greentech. The other accelerator is specifically designed for fintech companies instead.

Yet, note that the accelerator programs doesn’t come with any upfront investment.

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5. Co-Creation Hub

Where? Nigeria

Co-Creation Hub is Nigeria’s largest startup hub which offers entrepreneurs and startups 3 separate programs:

  1. A 6-month pre-incubation program for idea-stage entrepreneurs that comes with a $5,000 funding
  2. A 12-month incubation program for startups to help them gain traction and develop their product. As part of the incubator, startups also receive $25,000 funding and various perks (office space, mentorship, etc.)
  3. A 12-week accelerator program for startups that already have a MVP, some early traction and need support to refine their business model, scale and raise additional funding. Additionally, startups can receive up to $250,000 as part of the program

6. Cortex Hub

south africa's startup accelerators

Where? South Africa

Cortex Hub is a recent startup hub based in East London, South Africa.

Each year, it accepts 10-12 early-stage startups that go through a 12-month incubation program. The incubation programs eventually leads up to another 12-month acceleration program for successful entrepreneurs (see infographic below).

As part of the program, Cortex Hub offers startups mentorship, hands-on support, office space as well as early seed funding, although the amount is not publicly disclosed.

7. Falak Startups

africa's top startup accelerators

Where? Egypt

Backed by the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation’s own VC fund Egypt Ventures, Falak Startups is one of Egypt’s leading startup accelerator programs.

Although they mostly advertise their sector-agnostic general accelerator, Falak Startups also runs a separate fintech program.

In addition to EGP 2,000,000 each company receives as part of the program, startups may also receive follow-on funding from Egypt Ventures and other partner funds in the future as they scale.

8. Founder Institute

south africa's startup accelerators

Where? 15 countries

The Founder Institute is one of the top global pre-seed startup accelerators. Indeed, with offices in over 200 cities and 65 countries worldwide, the Founder Institute has invested in 5,000+ startups to date.

Like any of their other chapters worldwide, all of their 15 African chapters run 4-month accelerator programs at the end of which graduate founders must commit 4% equity to the Founder Institute Collective (see more on that here).

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9. Greenhouse

Where? Nigeria

Looking at their website, Greenhouse Capital looks very much like a typical VC fund, and it is.

Yet, over the years, the Nigeria-based VC fund also developed multiple accelerator programs each year. Backed by corporates, these programs are all industry- or purpose-specific. For example, their flagship program, Greehouse Lab aims to support women-led B2B tech African startups.

Learn more about the different programs available for applications by visiting their website. Yet, note that all typically have different terms and duration. Also, Greenhouse doesn’t automatically invests in the startups that follow the program, they often do but it isn’t guaranteed.

10. Google For Startups

Google for startups logo

Where? Nigeria

Google for Startups is Google’s famous own accelerator programs for AI and Machine learning startups. They have chapters worldwide and their African operations are run out of Nigeria.

Although the accelerator is based in Nigeria, it is fully virtual and accepts applications from startups from Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte D’ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Google for Startups focuses on startups that work in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) only. Also, their programs runs 3 times a year for a total of 3 months.

Although the accelerator doesn’t come with any equity investment from Google (or anyone else), startups benefit from unparalleled access to their infrastructure, engineers and potential customers Google works with.

11. HSeven

Where? Morocco

HSeven is Morocco’s flagship startup incubator and accelerator. Indeed, they have 3 separate programs catered for all startups, from idea stage to scale-ups:

  • RISE UP IDEA: 3-month incubation program for idea stage entrepreneurs
  • RISE UP START: 3-month acceleration program for entrepreneurs with a MVP or POC. Typically, founders go from RISE UP IDEA straight to RISE UP START for a 6-month long program
  • DISRUPT AFRICA: the flagship 6-month acceleration program

With over 350+ mentors, DISRUPT AFRICA offers startups unparalleled access to industry experts for mentorship and guidance. In addition to mentorship, each startup receive a €150,000 investment, which can go up to €1.5 million for the most successful applicants.

Moreover, the accelerator is quite selective: only 10 startups get selected to participate to the 6-month long program.

12. Innovation Edge

south africa's startup accelerators

Where? South Africa

Innovation Edge is South Africa’s leading startup accelerator focused on ventures that tackle young children’s challenges in Africa (age 0 to 6).

The accelerator is at a crossroad between a VC fund and a startup accelerator. Indeed, they are similar to startup accelerators as they run programs whereby they select startups and provide them operational and strategic support.

Yet, they’re also very similar to VC funds as their programs aren’t time limited, and they invest in multiple stages over the lifetime of the businesses.

Innovation Edge has also invested in 36 startups for a total of ZAR 36 million to date ($100k in average).

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13. Innovate Ventures

Where? Somalia

Founded in 2015, Innovate Ventures is Somalia’s leading startup accelerator. It has indeed accelerated 54 startups to date, and from various industries: from agritech, aviation, marketplaces, adtech and more.

Moreover, Innovate Ventures select each year 10-12 startups that go through a 12-week intense program where they benefit from access to industry-leading mentors and workshops.

Also, businesses can receive funding at the end of the program at Demo Day.

14. MEST Africa

africa's top startup accelerators

Where? Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa

MEST Africa is a pan-African startup hub and incubation program for technology startups.

Founded in Ghana in 2008 as a training centre for entrepreneurs, MEST now has offices in Accra, Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town. Also, they have incubated over 80 startups to date from over 30 countries.

In addition to offering training programs to entrepreneurs (engineering, marketing, etc.), MEST runs 3 separate programs:

  • MEST Seed: 18 to 24 months incubation program where startups also receive funding from $50k to $250k
  • MEST Express: a 20-week incubation program where startups get support in refining their business model and pitch deck to help them raise funding at Demo Day at the end of the program
  • MEST Scale: acceleration program backed by Mastercard Foundation for SMEs that already found product-market-fit and have been generating revenues for over 3 years now

15. mlab

south africa's startup accelerators

Where? South Africa

Founded in 2010, mlab is one of South Africa’s sector-agnostic startup accelerators. Indeed, since its inception, the accelerator has supported over 100 businesses in various industries: from EdTech, AgriTech, Ecommerce and HealthTech.

Their accelerator program runs for 4 months during which founders receive mentorship and support to develop a market-ready product or service.

Moreover, mlab runs its accelerator programs in 3 separate offices: Cape Town, Limpopo and Gauteng. So if you’re interested, make sure to check out their website as the application deadlines and programs are different for each chapter.

In addition to mentorship, businesses also receive funding of up to ZAR 500,000.

16. Orange Fab

africa's top startup accelerators

Where? Tunisia

Orange Fab is the telecom multinational company Orange’s own startup accelerator for startups in Tunisia.

Each year, a handful of startups go through a 12-week long acceleration program where they can benefit from Orange’s tech infrastructure and expert guidance.

In addition to these perks, each startup also receive €15,000 in funding to develop its product.

Athough the accelerator is open to all types of industries, in order to qualify your business must respond to one of Orange’s business unit challenges.

17. Smart Lab

Where? Tanzania

Smart Lab is Tanzania’s startup and innovation hub. As such, it offers not only startups but also entrepreneurs and corporates training programs to foster innovation and research and development (R&D).

In addition to training programs, hackathons and a strong community of like-minded entrepreneurs, Smart Lab also has its own startup accelerator program.

The program offers startups hands-on support, mentorship, workshops as well as unparalleled access to its corporate partners so they can create business relationships (or obtain financing).

The program runs for 3 months yet doesn’t come with any guaranteed financing. Instead, businesses can receive funding at the end of the program from external investors at Demo Day.

18. Startupbootcamp Afritech

Where? Pan-Africa

Startupbootcamp Afritech is one of Startupbootcamp’s accelerator programs,

As a global network of industry-specific accelerators, Startupbootcamp is one of the world’s largest startup accelerator. Founded in 2010, Startupbootcamp is currently operating with 20+ industry-focused programs in Amsterdam, San Francisco, London, Berlin and many other cities worldwide.

Its African chapter, founded in 2017, welcomes startups from any country in Africa.

Startupbootcamp Afritech’s 3-month online program offers entrepreneurs and startups unparalleled access to potential investors, corporates, and of course, workshops and mentorship to help them succeed and grow.

Although the accelerator is sector-agnostic, they particularly prefer deep tech industries such as: RegTech, AI, Machine learning, Fintech, IOT, Blockchain and Cybersecurity.

19. Startup Reactor (by innoventures)

Where? Egypt

Startup Reactor is another of Egypt’s many startup accelerators.

Backed by the startup hub Innoventures, Startup Reactor is a 6-month program where startups receive mentorship, hands-on support and training.

Startups may also receive investment at the end of the program from Innoventures itself. Although their website says they invest each year in 3 to 4 startups, the amount of investment is not publicly disclosed.

20. Startup Wise Guys

africa's top startup accelerators

Where? Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana

Founded 10 years ago, Startup Wise Guys is a startup accelerator program for B2B SaaS businesses. They have multiple locations worldwide, from Eastern Europe to Africa.

In Africa, their program runs for 5 months and welcomes B2B SaaS startups from any of the following countries: Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana.

In addition to training classes and mentorship from 250+ mentors and 500+ alumni, startups also receive funding of up to €65k in return for 12% equity.

21. The Baobab Network

The Baobab Network is another of Africa’s top startup accelerators.

Based in Kenya, The Baobab Network is a 12-week program where startups receive hands-on mentorship and support. Startups also receive $50,000 initial funding as part of the program, in return for 10% equity.

Yet, unlike most accelerators, there is no fixed start date for the program. Instead, they accept applications on a rolling basis and onboard startups throughout the year.

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