Growth support for CEOS
CAPE Town-based fund manager Knife Capital is launching a programme to help CEOs of highgrowth businesses take their companies to the next level.
It claims to be the first programme of its kind in SA.
Knife Capital’s nine-month accelerator programme — Grindstone — aims to guide business owners and managers through a review of their strategies and provide them with the support to scale their businesses and attract growth investment, a statement said yesterday.
“Often, the reason businesses do not grow and excel is not because they’re bad at what they do. Usually they are 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,” said Andrea Böhmert, director of Knife Capital.
A recent study by Stanford University in the U.S. found an increasing number of top CEOs are seeking outside mentorship and coaching to deal with the fact that “it’s lonely at the top”.
“We see the same situation here. But we believe leaders of smaller companies with potential to grow also feel isolated and deserve external help as well as an appropriate peer network. Grindstone fills that gap,” said Böhmert.
“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,” said Keet van Zyl, Grindstone co-founder and Knife Capital director.
The programme would offer opportunities to interact with other CEOs facing similar challenges and to learn from industry thought leaders.
Chris Bull, intellectual property director at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, Daniel Guasco, CEO of Groupon SA and Hannes van Rensburg, founder of Fundamo, which was acquired by Visa, are a few of the industry players who had offered support to Grindstone, along with business catalysts such as Accelerate Cape Town.
Tim Harned, partner at America’s Growth Capital, would join from Boston to expose participants to the merger & acquisition process and on how to facilitate international partnerships.
Böhmert said Grindstone was created to draw a CEO’s attention to business areas outside of their core area of expertise.