From start-ups to scale-ups: MultiChoice Accelerator Programme gives small businesses a huge boost
Local entrepreneurs share how taking part in this initiative encouraged them to dream big while helping them take their enterprises to the next level
Entrepreneurial start-ups are regarded as being key to alleviating SA’s sky-high unemployment challenges as well as developing the country’s economy.
Recognising just how critical small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are to the economy, the MultiChoice Group created a platform to help grow start-up businesses.
The MultiChoice Accelerator Programme, the brainchild of the MultiChoice Group in collaboration with the trade, industry and competition department, Galelo Africa and Companies Creating Change (C3), is aimed at helping SMMEs unlock business opportunities.
The programme, which is part of the MultiChoice Innovation Fund which supports the growth and development of SMMEs in SA, kicked off in September 2021 with 20 local start-ups receiving training and assistance to grow their businesses to take them to the next level.
From this initial group of 20 start-ups, six were selected for the shortlist. Shortlisted start-ups were given the opportunity to present their business ideas to a panel of global investors at Expo 2020 Dubai, a leading international trade show which runs until March 2022.
Swypa Delivery and Wetility were two of the shortlisted start-ups. Both companies agree that participating in the MultiChoice Accelerator Programme has been very beneficial and has helped catapult them to the next stage of growth.
Swypa Delivery offers township-based businesses the opportunity to reach a larger market though its app-based delivery platform. Established in Thembisa in 2019, the company saw rapid growth during the Covid-19 pandemic. It currently services more than 40 local businesses and has expanded its offering to informal food traders.
Founder Boitumelo Monageng says the programme workshops provided valuable lessons. “We were taught everything from how to properly research your business sector and your market to how to create a niche for your business. We also had the opportunity to share ideas with other entrepreneurs.”
When Monageng founded the business he never dreamed that Swypa Delivery would be a player in the delivery market beyond Thembisa. “The programme has changed my view. During the workshops we were encouraged to dip deeper and I realised that Swypa Delivery has the potential to compete on a much larger scale.”
Presenting his business at Expo 2020 Dubai was an exciting journey, he reveals. “I spoke to a number of potential investors from various countries — and one of these conversations has resulted in an ongoing discussion.”
After completing the MultiChoice Accelerator Programme, we're now aiming to become a major township delivery platform that competes head-on with the likes of Mr D and TakealotBoitumelo Monageng, founder of Swypa Delivery
As a result of the programme Monageng now has big dreams for Swypa, including a bucket list of potential areas to expand into such as motor spares, medicine and pharmaceuticals, groceries, smaller parcels, laundry and liquor. “We’re now aiming to become a major township delivery platform that competes head-on with the likes of Mr D and Takealot,” he reveals.
Green energy start-up Wetility had a similarly positive experience of the programme. The company provides hybrid solar systems to homes and businesses via affordable payment options.
Founder Vincent Maposa points out that without a stable and sustainable source of energy, the SA economy cannot recover or grow. “We have a vision of energy independence for everyone, particularly across Southern Africa where around 350-million people require clean energy solutions if they are to deal meaningfully with the electricity crisis,” he says.
The training boot camps, including media training, and access to incredible resources, including market access, provided by the MultiChoice Accelerator Programme resulted in the business honing its thinking and becoming laser-focused on its purpose, says Maposa.
It allowed Wetility to evolve from a start-up to a scale-up and gave the business the confidence to negotiate better terms with its suppliers.
“The programme re-energised our mindset and reminded us again that what we are doing is not only achievable, but is also necessary for the socioeconomic growth and stability of Southern Africa,” says Maposa.
Through the MultiChoice Accelerator Programme, we’ve realised that we are doing in SA can be replicated across the continent – and even the worldVincent Maposa, founder of green energy company Wetility
“Through the programme, we’ve also realised that what we are doing in SA can be replicated across the continent — and even the world. Rather than a purely South African business we now see ourselves as an African business and a regional player.”
The company's presentation at Expo 2020 Dubai has unlocked significant investment channels and means the business now has the partners and capacity to scale, he reveals, adding that participating in a programme of this calibre has been a “humbling experience”.
“Participating in the MultiChoice Accelerator Programme reminded us that if you surround yourself with like-minded, purpose-driven people and partners, anything is possible,” he says.
This article was paid for by MultiChoice.