Search is on for SA’s green sector start-ups

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer
Johannesburg, 28 Jun 2023
Grindstone and Anglo American Foundation officials at the launch of the accelerator programme.
Grindstone and Anglo American Foundation officials at the launch of the accelerator programme.

Cape Town-based accelerator Grindstone and the Anglo American Foundation (AAF) are in search of 15 tech-enabled and innovation-driven start-ups in the green sector.

This, say the organisations, is line with their accelerator partnership that aims to provide entrepreneurs in the sector an opportunity to raise funds and gain market access.

Grindstone says the partners are looking for environmentally-sustainable businesses in various areas, including green buildings and the built environment, sustainable transport and infrastructure, clean energy and energy-efficiency, and resource conservation and management.

The 2024 Grindstone accelerator, in partnership with the AAF, will run as a six-month programme designed specifically for post-seed to series A green sector start-ups.

The selected start-ups will receive funding-readiness support, including gap assessment, workshops covering strategy and people, marketing and sales, funding and valuation, and monthly in-depth coaching sessions.

The winning company will also receive a cash incentive at the end of the programme, it notes.

Catherine Young, managing partner at Grindstone, states: “Over the past 24 months, we have seen a large increase in green economy start-ups applying to our programmes. We have also dramatically increased the percentage of youth and female-founded businesses, with an intentional strategy to balance our cohorts from a diversity perspective.

“By identifying and supporting green start-ups, we are advancing sustainable practices and nurturing innovative entrepreneurs committed to environmental stewardship. Through this programme, we will provide the necessary tools, guidance and funding readiness opportunities for these green sector start-ups to thrive and make a tangible impact in their respective industries.”

Grindstone and AFF note the initiative aims to build a robust pipeline of green sector start-up applications and catalogues, providing valuable insights into the size and quality of the green pipeline.

Maike von Heymann, head of the AFF, comments: “Our goal is to work with youth to co-create opportunities and break down barriers, while improving their communities and changing their futures.

“Climate change both threatens future livelihoods and creates opportunities for innovation and employment. By working with partners like Grindstone, we aim to combine fresh thinking and hard evidence to support entrepreneurs' work in the green sector, while strengthening green value chains and the ecosystem more broadly.”

To apply for the programme, click here.