Allan Gray Orbis Foundation and E² launch their inaugural accelerator programme

August 2016: The Foundation is of the firm belief that high impact, responsible entrepreneurs will contribute to a positive economic, social and political change by providing access to education and entrepreneurial development. Their inaugural accelerator programme aims to rapidly scale up nine selected entrepreneurial ventures founded by Allan Gray Fellows. These businesses have evolved through a four month iterative process based on lean startup concepts and the Lean Iterator methodology – a process where startups’ refine and validate their ideas with real audiences, making the necessary adjustments to ensure a sustainable business.

The Foundation started this initiative to assist Fellows move from idea mode into action a business startup – research suggests that this is the most difficult and volatile stage of choosing to run a business. Most people stagnate in idea mode and many start-ups fail in the initial stages due to a lack of support and market access. The next phase of this accelerator, launched in Cape Town on 1 September 2016.

The accelerator programme will change the future of nine Fellows who have founded, innovative enterprises intending to impact the South African startup landscape. This, accelerator has been developed by the Foundation in collaboration with E2 and Cactus Advisors supported by Standard Bank Future Labs.

There are nine businesses that were chosen from 30 ideas, these included:

  • AKAN – all natural hair and skin care product range catering to the black natural hair care market. akanorganics.co.za. Business owners: Akosua Koranteng
  • The GradSpace – Graduate recruitment made easy – an exclusive network for top performing university students. Business owners: Apoti Potye and Zanele Malumba
  • Chicco’s Barbers – a franchise that provides a tech-enabled turnkey system to optimise the hair-cutting process, allowing barbers to generate more revenue and operate more professionally. Business owners: Muzi Mthombeni and Thabo Ngcobo
  • HouseMe – connects prospective tenants to landlords of residential accommodation. HouseME allows tenants to bid on what they are willing to pay for a rental and is backed by a dual-sided rating system similar to Uber or Airbnb. houseme.co.za. Business owners: Ben Shaw and Kyle Bradley.
  • Incitech – making simple diagnostic solutions accessible for insightful and actionable information where and when it matters. incitech.co.za. Business owners: Danisa Nkuna and team
  • Map Blitz – an educational, fun and engaging new brand of the world map puzzles with a time challenge. mapblitz.com. Business owners: Wandile Mabanga
  • Parktown – a CT-based clothing brand which aims to remove a customer’s need to try on clothes before purchasing them. All clothing created by Parktown is made-to-measure and assembled locally. https://www.facebook.com/parktownclothing/ Business owners: Zara Hammerschlag and Tamryn Smit.
  • Rooster– alarm app that seeks to change the way people wake up in the morning. Business owners: Dom Koenig and Josh Perry.
  • Scoody – manufactures and distributes a custom garment called the Scoody (Scarf-Hoody) to corporates, sporting brands, schools, societies, events and promotions companies, and individuals. scoody.co.za. Business owners: Sechaba Selialia.

These businesses have evolved through the four month iterative IVC process based on lean startup concepts and the Lean Iterator methodology – a process where startups’ refine and validate their ideas with real audiences, making the necessary adjustments to ensure a sustainable business. The Creation leg of the programme will run for 13 weeks, from the 1st of September to 30th of November 2016 at the Standard Bank Future Labs centre in Cape Town. The founders of these startups’ will be immersed in an intensive programme to rapidly expand their businesses, they will be exposed to mentorship by leading business experts in various industries, insights from target audiences in both consumer and business, strategy development and pitch coaching.

The accelerator enables the selected businesses to rapidly scale up through a structured programme that provides content workshops, business mentors, industry leaders, influencers and experts, in addition to founder-friendly funding. E2 will provide initial funding support to the ventures and at the conclusion of the program; ventures will be eligible for follow-on funding and support.  The nine businesses that complete the program will present the milestones, demos and learnings on the 1st of December 2016.

The Foundation would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the brave Fellows that have taken the first step to starting a business.