Growth sup­port for CEOS

Weekend Witness - - Money -

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.

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