Naspers Labs and Grindstone have announced the 10 startups selected for their South African women-focused accelerator program. The shortlisted businesses are all women-led and include Africa Beyond 4IR, Blushproof, Chicken Bar, Four Minute Medicine, Seponono Africa, Abaguquli, Thetha Digital, Tsehla Holdings, Wisi-oi Marketplace, and Young Rebels Marketing.
The GrindstoneX accelerator was launched in September 2022 with financial support from Naspers Labs. It is aimed at helping more women-founded businesses become scalable, attractive to investors and exit ready.
The accelerator does this by assessing startups and offering interventions based on their business needs. The interventions vary and may include business strategy, expert business coaching, go-to-market planning, funding readiness and networking, and mentorship and advice from Grindstone Alumni companies that have successfully scaled their businesses.
The startups chosen for this particular project operate in various sectors including virtual reality, gaming, digital empowerment through animation, online education, fashion marketplace, branding and web development, and hydroponics. Despite the different niches, they all have the ingenuity and drive of their female founders in common.
More about the business and their female founders:
Africa Beyond 4IR
Africa Beyond 4IR is a startup that aspires to ignite a spark of technological advancement and entrepreneurial spirit in marginalised communities by bridging the digital divide in such marginalized communities of South Africa.
It introduces communities to gaming, animation, drones, programming, and virtual reality. The founder of Africa Beyond 41R is Kelebogile Molopyane.
Blushproof promotes women’s empowerment through its product—leak-proof reusable period panties. The products are reusable, enabling women to save money on period expenses and also spare the environment the pollution that non-biodegradable tampons and pads can cause. Blushproof was founded by Thandi Hartmann.
Chicken Bar is a food business with a focus on health-conscious dining. Chicken Bar also has a growing franchise. It uses computerised pricing and management software to serve its franchise owners. It was founded by Asanda Maqbuka
Four Minute Medicine
Four Minute Medicine is a brand that works with a network of specialists, generalists, and medical students to produce evidence-based teaching on medical subjects. It has online courses which support blended and adaptive learning to help students accelerate their professional training. The founder of Four Minute Medicine is Phinda Njisane.
Seponono Africa is a digital branding organization that offers brand consultations, brand design, digital marketing, and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) services to businesses. Tebogo Petlele founded it.
Abaguquli is focused on preparing the youths for the fourth industrial revolution through training, information and access to opportunities. It offers training in website development, mobile apps, and chatbots. It was founded by Aasiyah Adams
Thetha Digital is a brand that helps businesses create engaging educational content for their target audience. This content can be in the form of animations, voice-overs or in video or audio formats. Yen Zen Xhu is the founder of Thetha Digital.
It was founded by Roseline Mapuranga. It is an agritech startup in the business of hydroponics. The startup offers installation services of hydroponic tunnels for individuals and organisations. It also offers training on managing and growing crops in the installed hydroponic systems.
Wisi-Oi Marketplace is an online marketplace that allows sellers to host online stores for pre-loved fashion items for customers to purchase. It also offers shoppers a BNPL option that allows them to shop on credit at zero interest. Phumelele Körber is the founder.
Young Rebels Marketing
Young Rebels is a company that specializes in designing communication and emotional processing games to promote mental and emotional health among young people. It was founded by Faith Wesson.