Ran Neu-Ner, the co-CEO of South African marketing advisory services firm The Creative Counsel, has pledged ZAR50 million (US$3.5 million) to help young entrepreneurs in developing and growing their businesses.
The Ran Neu-Ner Fund will be operated by learning and networking platform Suits and Sneakers, which will manage applications, assist with training, and provide mentorship to candidates.
The first ZAR10 million (US$570,000) investment will be disbursed in the first quarter of next year, and the balance by the end of 2017. Neu-Ner said the fund had been created as he believes entrepreneurs are being thwarted by the red tape of financial institutions.
“Funding is the first of two major issues for startups. The second is the dire lack of mentorship. The country is losing a lot of bright young people with great ideas to white and blue collar jobs because there is inadequate support yet it is this potential that could be creating more jobs and solving unemployment. This latent potential must be realised, which is where I hope to have an impact,” he said.
“I have no doubt that we will come across amazing, innovative ideas and interesting entrepreneurs who have never been given a chance to dream the impossible. I am looking forward to working with Impello, who are masters at supporting start-ups by offering ongoing informal education, networking events, mentorship and business resources.”
Applications are open now to young entrepreneurs, with startups at the idea stage or already in operation. Applications must include the type of business, background of the entrepreneur, the company’s financial history if applicable, and the financial focus of the business.
A shortlist of eight will receive mentorship and training in preparation for a formal pitch to a panel, which will collectively decide which candidates receive funding.