Investment Readiness Accelerator 2017

Apply now for the next Accelerator – starting late 2017

Overview

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 major constraint to scaling the impact investing industry.

Entrepreneurs that are focused on education, health care, housing, food security, financial inclusion, energy, water, and other climate adaptation/change issues are critical to creating a more socially just country. Yet, these businesses like many others also face a broad spectrum of challenges when trying to grow. 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 growth in either capacity or different geographies.

To address some of these challenges, Impact Amplifier has created the Investment Readiness Accelerator. Its third iteration, this Accelerator is a three-month long programme designed for impact business, to prepare for expansion and funding.

Investment Readiness Programme

The programme will offer entrepreneurs 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;
Strategic planning;
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 the public sector.

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 has also been structured to create networks for the participants both amongst themselves and between the lecturers and other stakeholders. 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.

Structure and Delivery

The programme is structured in two distinct phases. The first phase is designed as seven modules, one to two are delivered every two weeks over a three-month period. Each module will include a combination of lectures, individual coaching, group discussions and presentations. In between each module there will be a range of assignments required to progress the core tasks being reviewed. Each entrepreneur will be supported by a team of Impact Amplifier Fellows and senior mentors throughout the programme to assist them in completing each step. One of the unique aspects of the Accelerator is the inclusion of the Fellows. These are Masters and Phd students who will provide daily support to the businesses in completing each of the modules while the senior mentor will provide overall strategic direction. The structure has been designed to combine expert, peer-to-peer learning, and pragmatic assignments that provide the basis for developing an investment case for support.

The second phase, post the structured Accelerator, available to select businesses is for an additional nine months. During this period, the Impact Amplifier team will assist each business on a one-on-one basis to secure the resources required to grow.

Outcomes

The expected outcomes of the programme are to:

Increase the likelihood of securing growth capital for participating entrepreneurs;
Strengthen the pipeline of investable impact entrepreneurs for local and international Impact Investors; and
Strengthen the broader network/ecosystem of environmental and socially inclusive businesses in Africa.

Selection Criteria

Impact Amplifier is seeking applications from any type of impact business that has the potential to growth. The programme will include up to 10 businesses in each cohort and will be run twice in 2017.

The selection process will function as follows:

The Selection Committee will review all the applications submitted against the criteria outlined below. The top 20 applicants will be shortlisted for each cohort.
The 20 shortlisted applicants will be contacted to request additional information and set up interviews for the final selections.

The primary criteria that will be used to shortlist the applicants will include, but not be exclusive to:

The strength and experience of the management team and the precedent set by the team in terms of co-operation, achieving business goals, as well as developing a cohesive value proposition;
Ability of the business to be commercially viable and create long term and sustainable value through social/environmental impact;
The social/environmental issue the business is addressing. How material is this issue and what impact will the business have on it;
Is the business model scalable and replicable; and
Likelihood of the business to benefit from the programme and support other businesses participating.

The programme is not for ideating stage entrepreneurs. The table below reflects the various stages businesses move through from idea to scale. We will only be accepting businesses from the 3rd phase to the 6th phase.

Key Dates

late 2017 – second accelerator programme begins

Location

Entrepreneurs from anywhere in South Africa may apply. However, the group meetings will be held in Cape Town. Businesses from outside Cape Town must attend the first two sessions physically and then thereafter can participate remotely.

Costs

The Accelerator is free to attend, but there are obligations to Impact Amplifier post the programme that will be discussed in detail with all shortlisted candidates.


Apply

Impact Amplifier welcomes applications from profit-with-purpose businesses, which have a pilot in place and would like to scale their operations. The Selection Committee will review all the applications submitted and shortlist the top 20 applicants for each cohort. The shortlisted applicants will be contacted to request additional information and set up interviews for the final selection.

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