Nine-Month Accelerator Launched

Nine-Month Accelerator Launched


Cape Town based fund manager Knife Capital has launched a new programme designed to help CEOs of existing high-growth entrepreneurial businesses take their companies to the next level.

Knife Capital’s nine-month accelerator programme, Grindstone, will guide business owners and managers through an intensive review of their strategies and provide them with the necessary support to scale their businesses and attract growth investment.

Identify areas for improvement

Grindstone is best described as part-business accelerator, part-investor and part-advisor and is the first programme of its kind in SA.  It has been created to draw a CEO’s attention to business areas outside of their core area of expertise; it will focus on strengthening the management skills and support structures of CEOs who have exciting products and viable businesses that can scale.

Andrea Böhmert, director of Knife Capital and the person in charge of Grindstone explains:  “Often, the reason that businesses do not grow and excel is not because they’re bad at what they do.

“Usually they are very good in their core business but neglect areas outside their comfort zone such as HR management, finances, compliance or sales and marketing, which can inhibit growth and, in some cases, cause a company to fail.”

Grindstone will help managers identify the strengths and weaknesses of their businesses and show them how to implement their growth strategy.

Criteria for applicants

There are a number of requirements for entry into Grindstone but, for Knife, the most important criteria are that each company:

  • Should already have some proven traction
  • Is ready to become a South African business success story
  • Has a CEO who is open to implementing changes.

“We are looking for businesses that are already doing things differently, we’re looking for disruptive innovators, we’re looking for the entrepreneurial spirit – this is the DNA of businesses we usually invest in.”, explains Keet van Zyl, Grindstone co-founder and Knife Capital director.

The process

Grindstone will kick off with an informative funding readiness workshop on 29 August 2013, which is open to 50 companies selected from the initial list of applicants.

After this workshop, 20 companies with high growth potential will be chosen to participate in the Knife Capital/ UCT Graduate School of Business high-growth investment course, as well as a Gap Analysis Boot-camp.

The final ten will then be selected for the nine-month Grindstone acceleration programme.


Alison Job
Alison Job holds a BA English, Communications and has extensive experience in writing that spans news broadcasting, public relations and corporate and consumer publishing. Find her at Google+.