Xero, an accounting software provider for small businesses,has opened applications for its inaugural Xero Beautiful Business Fund, with more than R8 million in funding available to companies across the globe.
The fund helps small firms within the Xero ecosystem to accelerate their growth, by supporting entrepreneurs to meet their business objectives, it says.
Four South African Xero small business customers will each win R250 000, with an additional R545 000 available in each category, should a South African winner receive a global prize.
The Xero Beautiful Business Fundis open to Xero small business customers in SA, Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and the US – recognising companies that are eager to take the next step in various aspects of their business.
Colin Timmis, country manager for Xero South Africa, notes: “I’m constantly inspired by the optimism and ambition of the self-made businesses that are at the heart of the South African economy.
“However, they often face barriers to growth, and access to funding can be a huge hurdle. We are pleased to be able to provide this funding to help small businesses invest in areas where they may not have had the cash to do so.”
According to Xero, the four winners in SA will be selected according to each category. Winners will be determined by a judging panel consisting of Lornelle Jonas, MD of E’lique Advisory; Nick Dreyer, co-founder of Veldskoen; Yaeesh Moosa, head of marketplace at Takealot.com; Xero employee judge Kabir Thakor; and Timmis.
A total of 28 regional winners, one from each region for each category, will be determined by regional judging panels before being put forward to the global judging panel to select the global winner for each of the four categories.
The global judging panel for the inaugural Xero Beautiful Business Fund includes Laurie McCabe, co-founder and partner, SMB Group; Becca McClure, transformation director, BDO Global; Jeanne Grosser, global head of partnerships, Stripe; John Hummelstad, Locatrix CEO; Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Xero CEO; and Nigel Piper, Xero executive general manager, customer experience.
To apply, Xero small business customers must submit a 90-second pitch video and complete a brief written form for as many categories as they wish. The categories are:
Innovating for sustainability: For small businesses that want to take the next step in their sustainability journey.
Trailblazing with technology: For small businesses seeking to innovate.
Strengthening community connection: For small businesses or non-profits that strive to give back to their communities.
Upskilling for the future: For small businesses seeking to support training and development of themselves or their employees.
Each submission should be future-focused and detail how the funding would benefit the small business.
Full submission criteria and details are available on the Xerowebsite. Submissions close on 6 October. Winners will be announced later this year.