South Africa’s WDB Investment Holdings and venture capital company Grovest have taken stakes in local ICT incubator Seed Engine, in a bid to help develop South Africa’s economy through entrepreneurial businesses.
WDB has taken a 30 per cent stake in Seed Engine – including Seed Academy, while Grovest has taken 27.5 per cent.
The organisations said they share a common desire to transform South Africa’s economy, by developing sustainable entrepreneurial businesses.
“We needed a strategic partner that would instantly allow us to scale up our efforts around entrepreneurship in SA, especially amongst women. Seed Engine was one of the first ICT accelerators in this country, and this dynamic for-profit social enterprise is now supporting the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem from startup through to supplier,” said Faith Khanyile, chief executive officer (CEO) of WDB, a women-run investment firm which focuses on women-led businesses.
CEO of Seed Engine and Seed Academy Donna Rachelson highlighted the role of entrepreneurs in job creation, and said the investments will help Seed Engine to support local entrepreneurs in growing businesses and job opportunities.
“Incubation is not producing the results SA needs and entrepreneurs are battling to build and scale their businesses and create jobs. We take a fresh look at our entrepreneurial system and make quick, sustainable changes that result in jobs, wealth and certainty,” Rachelson said.
“Through the WDB and Grovest we will be able to tap into corporate and government relationships and networks that will help Seed Engine reach deeper into the communities and sectors that need the most urgent support.”
WDB also said it is likely its investment will increase to 51 per cent, as the partnership with Seed Engine serves both WDB’s business and social agendas.
“We liked Seed Engine’s emphasis on black women and youth-owned businesses,” said Khanyile.
“Many people in South Africa were not raised in an entrepreneurial environment in which they were encouraged to take an idea and grow a business. More than ever before, there is an urgency for young South Africans and female entrepreneurs in particular to be assisted in taking their ideas forward and build businesses. Our young people need jobs, and we need to help them create jobs for themselves, their families, and their communities.”