Boost the Growth of your SME

3 reasons why you should enter your SME in a Cluster-specific Business Accelerator Programme

It’s common knowledge that most new businesses in South Africa will face massive challenges. Megan Wuite, an Executive at B&M Analysts, believes that in addition to training, if more SMEs were given the opportunity to get a foot in the door to supply large lead enterprises, their chances of success and growth would significantly improve.

This is where Business Accelerator’s come in. “Business Accelerators even up these odds by helping SMEs that demonstrate potential for rapid growth with expert advice, training, mentoring, networking, and of course the opportunity to potentially partner with big enterprises that they wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to supply,” Megan explains.

She adds that choosing the right Accelerator gives SMEs the opportunity to gain access to invaluable forms of support. From expert mentorship, access to market opportunities as well as the potential prize money and preferential loans, Accelerators can make a huge difference for SMEs.

“Our cluster-based Accelerators operate as a boot camp – an intense, compressed programme designed to rapidly build companies that culminates in a day where participants have the opportunity to pitch their products and services to major corporates,” Megan explains.

The objective for the Accelerators is to develop high potential SMEs as strategic suppliers to industrial-lead enterprises by providing market access, standards upgrading and capital investment interventions. “Working in partnership with our sponsors, our proven methodology has a track record of positive results across various manufacturing sectors in South Africa. In fact, during 2020, our Accelerators were responsible for creating 250 new jobs and delivered R3 million new market opportunities,” says Megan.

If you are wondering if a Business Accelerator will be worthwhile for your SME, here are Megan’s top three reasons why you should take part:

1. Market Access

We understand that one of your biggest hurdles is getting access to large corporates; pitching your products, services or innovative ideas. The judges or “Dragons” in our Accelerator Programmes include some of South Africa’s largest companies and, as sponsors of the event, have a keen interest to see your business succeed and for a successful partnership to emerge. The Accelerators, therefore, offer you the ultimate opportunity to showcase your products, services and ideas to these large corporates. These sponsors include:

Durban Automotive Accelerator: Goodyear, Lumotech and Hesto Harnesses

Eastern Cape Automotive Industry Forum Accelerator: Goodyear, Lumotech and Hesto Harnesses

Durban Chemicals Cluster (DCC) Accelerator: NCS Resins, Ferro Dispersions, Ferro Coating Resins, H&R and SAPREF

KZN Clothing and Textile Cluster Accelerator: Pepkor’s Speciality, Woolworths, Mr Price Group and TFG

Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster: Pepkor’s Speciality, Woolworths and PepClo

2. Expert Mentorship

During the Accelerator Programme participants have the opportunity to interact with sector-specific business experts. Our talks and breakaway sessions provide quick access to leading industry advisors who understand the unique challenges facing the industry and/or geography. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can leverage their years of accumulated wisdom allowing you to speed up your business development and grow your business in a more calculated, strategic way from the advice they provide.

3. Access to Capital

Most businesses are keen to expand but don’t have the funds for the required resources. This is another avenue where our Accelerators excel as they not only provide expert mentorship for our winners, they also offer seed capital for the winning pitches as well as the opportunity to unlock preferential loan funding. Some of our past winners of the Durban Chemical Cluster Accelerator, Ocean Plastic Technologies and Rocky Brands, have also unlocked further preferential loans and R2 million has been paid out to these businesses, used to fast-track their development.

Participating in a Business Accelerator translates directly into value for any SME that wants to unlock its growth potential. These Programmes can play a vital role in shaping and fuelling your business growth and can offer your company a menu of invaluable and ongoing resources.

For more information on the 2021 range of Business Accelerators or if you would like to apply to be part of one of these Programmes, visit: (Clothing and Textile – Western Cape applicants) (Clothing and Textile – KwaZulu-Natal applicants) (Chemical sector – KwaZulu-Natal applicants) (Automotive sector – Eastern Cape applicants) (Automotive sector – KwaZulu-Natal applicants)

Entries close on 26 October 2021