Johannesburg - Seed Engine Business Accelerator is offering a
programme for those that have great business concepts but need financial and
coaching support to turn it into reality.
Seed Engine is offering access to R1m (R100 000 for each of
those accepted) as well as coaching, mentoring, workspace and access to
investors where each business can raise up to R2m over a 13 week accelerator
Seed Engine is extremely committed to ensuring the success
of those accepted on the programme and in this way support entrepreneurship and
Entrepreneurship in South Africa faces many challenges.
Early stage entrepreneurs in particular are generally ignored.
An entrepreneur with a killer concept will only tend to
attract funding once the business has existing revenues. Now for the first time
in South Africa, selected entrepreneurs will be able to fast track their
business ideas into commercial realities.
Seed Engine, a Redwood Capital initiative is a business
accelerator developed for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs who understand what is
necessary to make a start-up successful.
The accelorator programme begins with a search to find the
ten best distinctive and disruptive business concepts that deserve a chance.
Once the final selection has been made, ten teams of
entrepreneurs will begin a life-changing journey through a 13 week business
boot camp where they will each be given R100 000 start-up capital to convert
their ideas into practical business plans ready for launch.
They will be offered coaching, mentorship and support and an
opportunity to grow their concept into a business. On completion of the
programme they will be introduced to an auditorium filled with potential
investors so that they can attract further funding.
What's an accelerator?
An entrepreneurship accelerator is like business and
personal boot camp for entrepreneurs. The concept of accelerators has become a
global phenomenon, driven by successful entrepreneurs and investors.
The Seed Engine accelerator model includes seven main
1. A highly
competitive application process
capital in exchange for equity
3. Focus on
small teams, not necessarily one founder
mentoring and a fixed calendar of events
average of ten ventures per accelerator programme
to investors for further funding
Angel investors and venture capitalists take a keen interest
in these accelerator programmes because they create a pipeline of investable
companies, filter top talent and connect them to disruptive opportunities.
The primary investment principle at any stage of investment
is the assessment of risk. Typically, in the South African context, investors
are known to have a low appetite for risk.
Seed Engine has therefore developed its accelerator programme to
significantly reduce the risk profile of the accelerator participants and
improves their chances of success, as well as giving them the opportunity to
raise additional capital for their ventures. 85% of entrepreneurs going through accelerator programmes in the USA are
still trading after four years since inception.
Search for entrepreneurs
Anyone can enter by going to www.seedengine.co.za and
completing the application process.
Applications are open until end November 2012. The application should clarify points of
difference, scalability, disruptive strategies and team details.
A shortlist of candidates will be invited to interviews
where a series of thinking and entrepreneurial ability tests will be completed
prior to acceptance into the programme.
The Seed Engine Accelerator Programme (13 weeks, 3 times a
Candidates will take part in a structured learning and
development programme. From Monday to Thursday, 4 – 6pm, a guest presenter will
share a topic of relevance. These topics
will include hard and soft elements of business including legal, marketing,
leadership, accounting, negotiations, general “how-to” and other modern
business practices that are relevant for both start-up and growing businesses.
Successfully appointed entrepreneurs will be given a
permanent workstation and shared office facilities for the duration of the
programme. The workspace is designed to foster and inspire creativity. It is
being modelled after business spaces found in Silicon Valley where the most
well known companies are found that are renowned for their disruption and
innovation. The Seed Engine workspace in Sandton will have everything that an
entrepreneur would need, from working areas to meeting rooms, chill rooms and a
training centre to host learning seminars.
The secure premises allow entrepreneurs to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a
The coaching team has developed a programme that aims to
develop entrepreneurs with sustainable leadership skills. This specifically developed programme is a
major differentiator from other incubator programmes, as it does not only focus
on the business aspects, but also on leadership skills and values.
The Seed Engine team is made up of successful entrepreneurs
and venture capitalists who provide daily guidance to the entrepreneurs. External mentors will also be selected on the
basis that they have specific industry knowledge, expertise and experience as
well as potential appetite to invest in second round funding of the business at
The business plan
At the end of the programme, Seed Engine, together with the
entrepreneur, would have compiled a realistic, executable and deliverable plan
for the business to implement. The plans
would have been stress-tested and researched to ensure that they are reasonable
and can be delivered within certain time frames.
The objective of presentation day is to allow the
entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to a group of targeted investors to
raise capital to grow their businesses. These investors will include angel
investors (individuals and clubs), early stage venture capital companies,
family offices, private equity companies as well as corporates - either as a strategic investment or
deployment of their enterprise development
It is envisaged entrepreneurs will be able to raise between
R200 000 and R2m at presentation day (per investment) depending on the
business case presented. Entrepreneurs will be fully coached and trained for
their pitches on presentation day.
Private meetings post-presentation day will be facilitated
by Redwood Capital, a partner to Seed Engine, to assist entrepreneurs with the
closing of deals and legal documentation.
Seed Engine and Redwood Capital’s involvement
Seed Engine, a business accelerator and Redwood Capital, a
business active in incubation, venture capital and private equity will have
board representation on each of the underlying businesses to ensure that
momentum and execution of the business plan and general strategy will be
carried out as envisaged. The management are well versed in entrepreneurial
It is in the interest of Redwood and the Seed Engine
management team to increase the likelihood that the underlying businesses are
successful, as they will hold equity positions in all of the accelerator
The Seed Engine Accelerator is powered by proud supporters
of entrepreneurship, as well as support for employment creation in South
Africa. Corporate partners include:
Tiber, one of the largest private property owners and
construction companies in South Africa,
has provided Seed Engine with free rent for the first activation as well as
assistance with the construction of the work space.
Redwood Capital Partners have provided Seed Engine with
capital to develop the innovative work space.
Additionally, the company will be mentoring the entrepreneurs through
the activation process.
Urban Everest, a coaching and leadership facilitation
company have joined Seed Engine to develop the accelerator programme and coach
When do Seed Engine activations happen?
There will be three 13 week Seed Engine activations per
year, starting in 2013:
– May (entries are now open and close end November 2012)
• June -
Who is behind Seed Engine?
Entrepreneurs Jeff Miller and Marc Elias, who having
researched the South African market identified the need for such a
venture. Both have a passion for
developing a true venture capital and angel investor network that is lacking in
the South African market. There is much
talent in South Africa but not enough funding and platforms to launch some of
the great and innovative opportunities that exist in the market.
Seed Engine is a private company modelled on and inspired by
businesses accelerators being rolled out across the USA, Europe and Asia. It is
owned by management, Redwood Capital and private equity investors. The company is 25% black owned and qualifies
as a Category B Enterprise Development Beneficiary for funding.
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