Knife Capital has joined forces with the SA SME Fund and Deloitte to launch the next iteration of their Grindstone Accelerator programme in Johannesburg. File Image: IOL

DURBAN – Knife Capital has joined forces with the SA SME Fund and Deloitte to launch the next iteration of their Grindstone Accelerator programme in Johannesburg. 

The programme is aimed at entrepreneurs who are ready to take their businesses to the next level, the programme promises to spotlight the contribution that high-growth entrepreneurs make in enabling Gauteng to be the economic powerhouse of South Africa. 

Grindstone is a structured entrepreneurship development programme, jointly owned by Knife Capital and Thinkroom Consulting, that assists high-growth innovation-driven SMEs to become sustainable and fundable. 

Grindstone supplies 10 companies in a year-long programme with knowledge, networks and funding readiness through growth measurement, gap analysis and deep interventions designed to build a foundation for growth, transfer skills, create relevant business networks and enable these companies to take advantage of market access opportunities.

"With this being the first time that the programme is offered in Johannesburg after successfully running it in Cape Town for four cohorts, we really want to tap into the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and highlight success stories," said Andrea Bӧhmert, Co-Managing Partner at Knife Capital. 

Bӧhmert added, "The programme helps entrepreneurs who are navigating their way through the treacherous business scale-up phase by identifying the pitfalls and success metrics of their businesses strategies while closing growth gaps to execute those strategies. A big differentiator is our approach to measurement – the companies need to be able to experience and measure the positive impact the programme has on their businesses".

Ketso Gordhan, Chief Executive of the SA SME Fund elaborates on the partnership synergies: ”The SA SME Fund is committed to developing world class local entrepreneurs and has partnered with Grindstone as they have consistently supported and grown South African Scale-Ups.” The SA SME Fund is providing favourable funding support to the 10 Grindstone Companies to enable them to close the initial growth gaps identified. Further growth funding is also available on commercial terms to scale the companies through Knife Capital’s Section 12J VCC KNF Ventures as well as other funding vehicles backed by the SA SME Fund.

Valter Adão, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Deloitte Africa said that the biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs is access to business insights, mentorship and access to customer networks at the right levels of seniority. To this end, Deloitte contributes significant value to the programme’s pillars of Knowledge and Networks.

"Deloitte has deep and intimate industry insights. We understand the challenges our clients face and more importantly, we know how to get to the root cause, not being distracted by the symptoms. For us to thrive in this highly competitive environment, we invest heavily in our people. Developing critical business leadership and operational competencies is critical, as is the dissemination and augmentation of industry insights. As an entrepreneur, getting access to this fast-paced, and high-performance learning environment, and the respective knowledge that comes with it is highly valuable," said Adão.

Successful businesses that have completed the Grindstone Programme in the Western Cape include iKubu (subsequently acquired by Garmin), Payfast, SeaMonster Animation, Electrum Payments, Iono fm, Quicket, PICSA Finance, Custos Technologies and WhereIsMyTransport, amongst others.

For more information on the programme, or to apply, visit (https://www.knifecap.com/grindstone). Applications are now open and will close on the 22nd of April 2019.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE