BY TOM JACKSON
Applications have opened for the latest Grindstone accelerator programmes in Cape Town and Johannesburg, which will see 20 South African innovation-driven SMEs provided with support in quickly growing their businesses.
Grindstone Accelerator is a structured entrepreneurship development programme run by venture capital (VC) fund manager Knife Capital, principally funded by SA SME Fund, and backed by primary partners including Thinkroom, Deloitte Digital, and Google for Startups.
An equity-free structured entrepreneurship development programme that assists high-growth innovation-driven SMEs to become sustainable and fundable, Grindstone provides participants with knowledge, networks, market access opportunities and funding readiness through growth measurement, gap analysis and value-adding interventions, all over a one-year engagement.
So far the average increase in revenue for Grindstone cohorts is 52 per cent during the one-year programme, with an increase in business efficiency of 30 per cent across functional areas. The majority of Grindstone cohort companies successfully raise significant follow-on funding, and there have also been some successful local and international exits.
“Grindstone engineers entrepreneurial growth. This has been our core purpose from when the programme started back in 2014. We continue to build and improve on this model to deliver measurable impact to all our founders and the broader startup ecosystem that includes alumni, advisors, angels and partners. Engineering success is multi-faceted and we have the frontline experience to support founders in their growth journey,” said Grindstone programme director Will Green.
Applicants should be South Africa-registered companies with at least ZAR500,000 (US$34,000) revenue per annum, dynamic teams, scalable business models and clear competitive differentiators. Applications are open here until the end of April.