Take your business to the next level

26th September 2023


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The Business Accelerator helps small businesses fast-track their potential with the support of South Africa’s top business leaders

If you operate a small Black-owned business (SME) in the chemical, automotive, clothing and textile, or furniture industries, we extend a warm invitation to join our Business Accelerator. This initiative offers you the chance to access new markets, elevate industry standards, and secure crucial capital investment interventions.

In each sector, selected finalists stand to receive cash prizes, along with an exclusive 12-month mentorship opportunity, guided by some of South Africa's foremost industry experts. Throughout this mentorship period, participants will also be in contention for procurement opportunities and preferential loans.

Kyle Ballard, Head of Accelerators for multiple industrial clusters, elaborates on the Business Accelerators’ mission: "The primary goal is to nurture high-potential, Black-owned SMEs, positioning them as strategic suppliers to leading industrial enterprises through enhanced market access, standards upgrading, and capital investment interventions." Ballard underscores the abundance of talented entrepreneurs in South Africa, noting that while they possess promising business concepts, they often lack the necessary expertise and resources to unlock their growth potential.

The transformative Business Accelerator initiative was inaugurated in 2018, beginning with the Durban Chemicals Cluster and subsequently expanding to the Durban Automotive Cluster, East Cape Automotive Industry Forum, eThekwini Furniture Cluster, KZN and Cape Clothing and Textile Clusters. Its well-established methodology has a track record of delivering positive outcomes across South Africa. Ballard highlights its achievements, stating, "Since its inception, the Business Accelerator has achieved remarkable results, unlocking 115 new commercial commitments, leading to the creation of over 1,040 jobs, and providing support to more than 160 SMEs. In its first year of facilitating new collaborations between SMEs and large customers, the initiative generated over R160 million in new commercial opportunities. Moreover, the Accelerators have played a pivotal role in enhancing the B-BBEE scorecards of 20 major industrial corporations annually."

He emphasises that the initiative offers a multitude of benefits to SMEs, most notably the opportunity for these companies to gain high-level access to decision-makers. In addition, participating SMEs will also enjoy valuable networking opportunities with prominent companies and other industry stakeholders in their sector.

“In collaboration with sector leaders, all entries will be rigorously screened, and candidates will be chosen to participate in a Capacity Building workshop that is focused on how to develop and deliver a compelling business pitch to potential customers,” explains Ballard. "The full-day, highly interactive pitch support and face-to-face session presents an extraordinary opportunity for entrants to network with peers in the industry and receive key insights on how to align your business offering with customer requirements. Participating SMEs will also get the chance to improve their business pitches and if shortlisted, will later present to a panel of large customers, following the ‘Dragons’ Den” concept, who are actively looking to find their future, local suppliers. Winners and select candidates will then have the opportunity to unlock sought-after commercial opportunities with these customers and receive access to standards upgrading and mentorship support.

Acknowledging that transforming your idea or innovation into a scalable, thriving business demands more than just capital, Ballard concludes by saying, “That's why we've leveraged our experience, expertise, and strategic partnerships to create a winning, manufacturing-focused accelerator platform that is proven to propel small businesses to the next level.”

If you would like to take your business to new heights, visit the following sites for more information and to apply:

Chemical sector entrants can enter here:

Automotive sector entrants can enter here:

Clothing and Textile entrants can enter here:

Furniture entrants can enter here:

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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