JSE Programme Sets Out To Boost SME Growth With Mentor And Capital Access

Article copied from Daily Maverick (link)

Growing medium-size enterprises is key to unlocking growth potential in the economy. The JSE Enterprise Acceleration Programme is a testament to what can be achieved.

The JSE Enterprise Acceleration Programme is open to founder-led, entrepreneurial companies with an annual turnover of R20-million that are looking to scale up through growing market share, accessing funding and improving their competitiveness.

The successful pilot project that ended in August last year exposed entrepreneurs to several training modules that have enabled them to structure high-performance management teams, identify suitable vendors to partner with, promote their brands and take advantage of new revenue opportunities.

One of the JSE’s key partners on the programme is Endeavor South Africa, which identifies and supports entrepreneurs. Participating businesses will benefit from specialised local and international mentors that can offer expert advice and coaching through structured group sessions, master classes and webinars.

“The JSE Enterprise Acceleration Programme will contribute towards the creation of a pipeline of high-performing, profitable and employment-generating businesses. We see our role as nurturing and enabling growth in companies that are primed to scale up quickly — helping them access new markets and capital,” says Cleola Kunene, the JSE’s SME Development Lead.

The JSE Enterprise Acceleration Programme includes a focus on diversity, looking at companies that are implementing broad-based black empowerment (B-BBEE), and that have women in their founding teams, management teams and broader workforce.

“The performance of participants in the programme is assessed and measured using key performance indicators that will home in on specific areas of business performance such as revenue growth, management skills, investor readiness, and market competitiveness. And as for the challenge of accessing funding, the programme leverages the JSE ecosystem to assist companies with capital raising,” she explains.

Valdene Reddy, Director for Capital Markets, says the idea is to get more companies fighting fit to access capital.

“Traditionally, accessing capital meant a listing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that anymore. We want to enable companies to grow, to scale, to position themselves so that if they want to access capital, they can readily do so. The programme could result in a listing but that is not the primary objective. We are looking at enabling alternative ways to facilitate growth,” she says.

The businesses that will be participating in the next round of the programme are Clevva, Finclusion, FlowCentric, Headbyte, iContact, iiDENTIFii, Inoxico, TSK Interiors, Spark Schools, Structure IT, Nafasi Waters and DealX

Most of the five companies that participated in the pilot programme fell in the tech sector and boasted a high growth rate between 30% to 800% per annum:

  • Mobiz — a personalised SMS marketing company;
  • Signcraft Africa — a signage company boasting business offerings across the continent including Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Nigeria, Ghana, Mauritius and Seychelles;
  • Synatic — which provides a data platform solution;
  • Saryx Engineering Group — which specialises in systems integration; and
  • Sendmarc — a company that provides domainbased message authentication, reporting and conformance, helping companies to protect against cybercrime attacks.

Ingrid Osborne, one of the founders of Saryx Engineering Group, can testify to the success of the programme. After its own experience with digitisation and maintaining safety and compliance systems, Saryx developed HSEC Online, which is a cloud-based digital health and safety solution.

“We’ve rolled out solutions across the mining industry, but HSEC Online can be used for anything from document compliance, regulatory compliance to corporate governance,” she says. The company has a strong presence in the SADC region, with an office in Mozambique and also has clients in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Osborne says the topics covered during the JSE programme included capital investor readiness, governance risks and compliance, and meetings with potential investors. “We really need to change the mindset in South Africa. You need a strong, connected network and government support to help entrepreneurs fly. The programme is likely to make huge strides in terms of developing those networks that are just so important to facilitate growth.” BM/DM

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