Endeavor, SA SME Fund intro entrepreneur scale-up programme

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 29 Mar 2021

High-impact entrepreneurs have the ability to quickly absorb capital and create jobs, says Adrian Gore, CEO of Discovery, who spoke at the launch of the Endeavor and SA SME Fund Local Scale-Up (LSU) programme last week.

The initiative is focused on expediting the local and international growth of successful entrepreneurs who run high-impact businesses.

It is aimed at primarily tech-enabled businesses, which scale quickly and outperform their peers, driving revenue growth and creating jobs.

Gore, who is also chairman of the SA SME Fund, said SA’s economy and jobs market will reap the benefits if it is able to accelerate the growth and extend the reach of high-impact local entrepreneurs onto the global stage.

The SA SME Fund’s mandate is to create an innovative and entrepreneurial local ecosystem and help scale high-growth entrepreneurs. The fund does this through its investments in numerous venture capital funds, including Knife Capital, the University Technology Fund and 4Di, by supporting the growth of highly-scalable, more established businesses.

“I’m excited by the SA SME Fund’s partnership with Endeavor to support the Local Scale-Up programme over the next three years. Working with like-minded organisations creates a virtuous cycle and helps create a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in SA,” said Gore.

“Big business, at scale, can only sustainably increase their top lines at GDP growth levels, so in order to achieve earnings growth that shareholders require, they have to focus on efficiency and expense reduction, which inevitably results in headcount squeeze. High-impact entrepreneurs, on the other hand, have the ability to quickly absorb capital and create jobs.”

Gore noted that successful entrepreneurs do not require thriving economies or political stability in order to prosper.

“Successful entrepreneurs are economy-agnostic. Smart entrepreneurs know that cycles come and go, and that the best time to invest and build is when times are tough. When others are distracted and ambivalent, opportunities are under-priced,” said Gore.

Commenting at the launch, Alison Collier, MD of Endeavor South Africa, said: “We are seeing more and more SA tech-enabled entrepreneurs successfully setting up their businesses and tech development teams in South Africa, and selling their solutions to the large international markets, including the US, Europe and Asia. The last year’s boom in remote working has only increased this opportunity for SA and it’s great to see local entrepreneurs capitalising on this.

“The right introduction into a trusted network saves entrepreneurs months, or even years of work. This minimises cash burn and fast-tracks the business’s revenue growth. Learning from successful entrepreneurs who have ‘been there and done it’ is invaluable. The advice shared refines a business’s value proposition and growth plans, ensuring teams avoid many costly pitfalls. This model is gold for accelerating their success.”

The LSU is led by Endeavor South Africa, whose model is geared at helping scale high-growth businesses locally and prepare them for the global stage. Endeavor operates in 38 markets and has over 2 000 entrepreneurs and over 5 000 mentors as part of its global network.