Business accelerator Grindstone announced the growth metrics of its fifth cohort and introduced the 20 successful candidates for the 2020 programme. 

Grindstone is a structured entrepreneurship development programme that is jointly owned by leading venture capital fund manager Knife Capital and market access specialist Thinkroom Consulting. It takes South African SMEs with proven traction through an intensive year-long review of their strategies and provides them with the necessary support to build a foundation for growth in becoming more investable, sustainable, marketable and exit-ready. Grindstone also recently launched a new venture capital fund, Grindstone Ventures, dedicated to providing early-stage equity funding to its cohorts of companies and alumni.

The fifth cohort just concluded and helped the participating SMEs circumvent the challenging South African economic environment. In just one year, 10 SA SMEs grew revenue by 54% (collectively adding R20m to their top line), created 23 new jobs and increased business fundamentals by 27%, while becoming more efficient in doing so. Despite the effects of COVID-19, the future is also looking bright for these companies, with growth prospects of 98% over the next three years fuelled by client traction and growth capital already raised by some.

Farhad Bhyat, Co-CEO of Farosian says: “Grindstone is a tough eye-opening challenge for an entrepreneur. The facilitators, experts and team enlighten founders to take a reality check on themselves, their teams and business. We have grown as founders and entrepreneurs because of Grindstone, with Farosian experiencing more prosperity over the last 12 months in comparison to the previous four years.” 

Farhad who and his co-founder, Sinéad Frampton are also investors in Grindstone Ventures says: “We are excited to also contribute an investment into the Grindstone Ventures Fund, increasing our role in the SA startup ecosystem, as we believe in every business that graduates from Grindstone.”

Specialist social media screening company Farosian achieved the highest growth across all metrics over this period compared to its peers. It won R150, 000 of the total Grindstone prize of R300, 000, with retail POS solution Marc1 and visitor management solution business WizzPass taking the balance. 

Grindstone announced the next 20 companies for the two new cohorts that are taking place in Johannesburg and Cape Town. “We are extremely satisfied with the collaborative efforts of our team, partners and friends from the ecosystem for curating two extremely strong and complimentary cohorts from the more than 200 applications received. We invested significant time and diligence to ensure that we can add value to the Top 20 entrepreneurs and their ventures in achieving their business goals and growth prospects,” says Will Green, Programme Director at Grindstone. “Especially since we have strong Grindstone partners like the SA SME Fund, Google for Startups, Deloitte Digital and Webber Wentzel behind us to assist in execution,” he adds.

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