What is the strategic aim of the programme?
SMEs contribute between 40% and 70% of GDPs across Africa and have a massive impact on job creation, depending on the country analysed. A focus on scale-ups enables opportunities for economic growth and job creation across these economies. Incubation and acceleration generally enables accelerated growth for the businesses in such a programme. The Grindstone programme over the last three years has proven that growth can be engineered. This adds positively to the African story of job creation and economic growth but also creates success stories to inspire others to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career option.
The Grindstone Accelerator programme is a year-long entrepreneurial development programme to assist ten post-revenue scalable innovation-driven businesses in accelerating strategy execution to become more sustainable and fundable. It is not a vanilla acceleration programme, but aims to engineer double-digit (at least 40% year-on-year) high growth for the businesses in the programme. For those companies seeking funding, Grindstone also serves as potential deal pipeline generator for Knife Capital/ KNF Ventures.
Who should apply and when is the closing date?
Ideally, we are looking for innovation-driven, technology enabled companies with proven product–market fit in a selected market, managed by an entrepreneurial team open to make the necessary changes to take the business to the next level. The ideal company has between five and fifty employees and is at a cross roads in terms of strategic growth options. The programme is sector agnostic but we would love to see applications from IoT, AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), Edutech, Agritech companies with a clearly differentiated USP. It is also a focus to include female entrepreneurs and black-owned companies.
The closing date for the applications is 31 August 2018. The selections will be made during September 2018 and the programme will start in October 2018.
Companies need to apply here.
Important to note
Starting a business and scaling a business requires different skills, different focus and is for many entrepreneurs a daunting and often lonely challenge. Many entrepreneurs have been quoted in saying that they want to “take their business to the next level” but amidst the many opportunities, they simply do not know how, paralysed by the fear of leaving the just recently attained sustainability comfort zone. While there are many support structures for start-ups, scale-up entrepreneurs are struggling to find support that is meaningful. Grindstone is aimed at entrepreneurs who are prepared to work on their business to strategically and operationally prepare the business for growth. Funding readiness and exit-readiness are sub-components but the main focus is on strengthening the building blocks of the business to really take the business to that next level.
By Cue Sibiya