10 female-founded start-ups given golden opportunity

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 31 Jan 2023
The 10 selected start-ups of the first GrindstoneX all-female founders accelerator.
The 10 selected start-ups of the first GrindstoneX all-female founders accelerator.

Business accelerator Grindstone and Naspers Labs have selected the first 10 female entrepreneurs to benefit from the GrindstoneX female entrepreneur accelerator programme.

The successful female-founded tech start-ups are: Africa Beyond 4IR, Blushproof, Chicken Bar, Four Minute Medicine, Seponono Africa, Abaguquli, Thetha Digital, Tsehla Holdings, Wisi-oi Marketplace and Young Rebels Marketing.

According to a statement, the selected businesses are active in a wide range of sectors, including hydroponics, branding and web development, fashion, online educational content, as well as digital empowerment through animation, gaming and virtual reality.

“We have been intentional in our recruitment approach in all our Grindstone programmes to ensure we increase the number of businesses who are female-founded and -led,” says Catherine Young, partner at Grindstone.

“This enables us to provide direct support to improve entrepreneurial opportunities equally, and to provide further springboards for investment-ready female-founded businesses in South Africa.”

Officially launched in September, the three-year accelerator programme aims to empower female-founded businesses to become more investible, scalable and exit-ready. It is made possible by funding support from Naspers Labs.

The female founders will undergo detailed assessments and analyses of their companies, followed by carefully structured interventions, as needed.

Interventions include business strategy, go-to-market planning, funding readiness and networking, as well as expert business coaching, including mentorship and advice from Grindstone alumni companies that have successfully scaled or exited their businesses.

“South Africa has a reputation for breeding innovative businesses, but there is still a lot of untapped potential among female entrepreneurs,” states Mapule Ncanywa, head of Naspers Labs.

“Given Naspers Labs’ focus on addressing unemployment through digital skills training, this initiative is particularly exciting because not only are we helping to uncover female entrepreneurial talent, but we are also adding rocket fuel to South Africa’s economic growth and job creation.”

Previous alumni of Grindstone’s programmes include on-demand grocery delivery provider OneCart, pre-owned designer luxury brand Luxity, delivery management platform Loop and visitor management start-up Wizzpass.

“The South African start-up ecosystem is vibrant, creating innovative and purpose-driven businesses with the potential to make a powerful impact across South Africa – we really had our work cut out for us to select the final 10,” notes GrindstoneX programme director Nonceba Qabazi.

“We were delighted to be presented with a number of amazing female candidates who were well-positioned to benefit from the support GrindstoneX offers. These start-ups have one thing in common – the ingenuity and drive of their female founders.”