South Africa’s FNB and business growth specialists Fetola have opened applications for the 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Impact Lab (SEIL) programme, which will accelerate the growth of 50 South African social entrepreneurs wanting to scale their business models and improve their investment readiness.
Running for the second year in a row and organised by FNB and Fetola, the SEIL programme supports the growth and investment potential of organisations that are tackling social, environmental and economic issues in South Africa.
The 18-month programme is split into two phases. During the initial 12-months, entrepreneurs get access to targeted and practical business growth support along with an introduction to investment readiness. Twenty high potential enterprises will be selected from the original 50 to receive further investment readiness support during the six-month second phase.
Ashleigh Sibanda, programme manager for business incubation at Fetola, said social entrepreneurs needed support and guidance if they are to succeed, with more than 50 per cent of them having less than five years of relevant experience before starting their enterprises and thus needing mentoring and coaching from more experienced entrepreneurs who have negotiated the fundraising landscape.
“In my experience, they also typically need help with refining their value proposition, testing operational assumptions, strengthening their business model and improving investment readiness,” she said.
“Moreover, they need assistance with business basics such as strategic planning, building their costing and pricing model, developing their sales and marketing strategy, pitching as well as leadership and people management. Most importantly, they need introductions to potential partners and finance providers. All too often these entrepreneurs are left to fend for themselves, making it unsurprising that 70 per cent of small to micro and medium enterprises in South Africa fold within the first five to seven years.”
Applications for SEIL 2021 are open here until Wednesday, November 24.