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The phenomenon of “Impact Investing”, investments with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return, is growing rapidly in South Africa. It is increasingly recognised that entrepreneurs will have an extraordinary influence on both the South African economy and solving what have previously appeared to be intractable social challenges.
Despite this realisation, finding and securing investment opportunities in South Africa, is difficult. Investors have reported that the lack of “investable opportunities” with a track record is a key major constraint to scaling the impact investing industry. Entrepreneurs that are focused on addressing the energy, water, waste, food security and other climate adaptation/change issues are not only critical to the environment, but also to creating a more inclusive socially just country. Yet, these businesses like many others also face a broad spectrum of issues when trying to scale their businesses. These include amongst others:
Identification of and securing access to target markets;
A clear revenue generation model, financial plan and strategic direction which leads to;
Difficulty in securing access to capital to fund expansion in either capacity or different geographies.
To address some of these challenges, Impact Amplifier with funding from the DOEN Foundation, together with various partners (GreenCape, Innovation Hub), have created the Eco-Innovators Investment Readiness Programme. This five-month long programme will run from March and will prepare successful applicants for expansion and funding.
Investment Readiness Programme
The programme offers successful participants the skills, knowledge, documentation and support required to secure investment for their businesses. The Programme addresses:
Constructing an Impact Case;
Market access, sales and distribution;
Financial modelling and planning;
Writing an Investment case to secure funding;
Pitching to investors; and
Connecting with partners in the business ecosystem, including multinational companies, NGOs and governments.
These subjects provide the needed skills and practical application for the participants to become investment ready. Although the Programme is designed to support investment readiness, it is structured to create networks for the participants both amongst themselves and between the lecturers and investors. These networks can form an important part of the entrepreneur’s future success and as such have been consciously woven through the programme’s delivery process.
Participants meet every two weeks where one of the eight programme modules is delivered. Post each module, over the next two weeks, the participants work on this aspect of the investment readiness process in preparation for the next meeting. Participants are also each assigned an individual mentor, which supports their work between the modules. This process allows for the participants to build the investment readiness strategy best suited for their business.
Final selections for the programme were made in February:
The confirmed participants will be announced shortly.
The following reflects the key dates for the programme:
29 February, 2016
final selection announced
2 March, 2016
11 July 2016
week of, programme ends
Modules will take place in both Cape Town and Johannesburg to accommodate all participants in the programme.
A nominal contribution of R3,000 toward the food and venue hire is required.
The value of the programme is estimated at over R100,000 per participant.