Standard Bank Incubator, StartupGrind partner up to help SA startups think global

This is interesting. Standard Bank just upped the ante when it comes to big banks getting involved in the local startup space with the announcement of a partnership with Startup Grind, the global startup community powered by Google for Entrepreneurs.

The newly formed partnership will see these monthly events hosted in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Similar events are also held in four other African cities, including Nairobi, Lusaka, Khartoum, and Eldoret.

“As a company that believes in supporting entrepreneurs with their business growth and development needs through our various incubation programmes, Standard Bank is proud to partner with Startup Grind to help the start-up community in South Africa, as they continue to take their rightful place in the South African economy,” comments Jayshree Naidoo, Head of the Standard Bank Incubator.

The partnership comes less than a year after it announced its partnership with emerging markets startup organisation SeedstarsWorld and around 18 months after it launched its incubator space.

Founded in Silicon Valley, Startup Grind has hosted thousands of fireside (informal) chats since its founding in 2010 and, to date has helped millions of entrepreneurs find mentorship, connect to potential partners and networks, pursue funding and reach new users. Startup Grind has been running in South Africa since 2013.

The format of the monthly meetups starts with an hour-long networking, helping like-minded individuals to connect with each other, followed by a 45-minute fireside chat where a successful entrepreneur is interviewed to tell their business journey and any success (and failure) stories that formed part of it. The questions are structured in a way to inspire the entrepreneurs in the room on how they managed to make their business a success.

A 15-minute Q&A session, during which the audience can informally interview the main guest, is followed by another networking opportunity to solidify relationships that have been established.
Guillaume de Smedt, Global Community Director of Startup Grind, mentions: “The partnership with Standard Bank is very welcomed and I believe it will take Startup Grind’s Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg chapters to new levels.”

“The Standard Bank Incubator has already achieved much in the start-up space in a short amount of time, and has built value in the start-up ecosystem in South Africa. We look forward to working with our new partner in order to impact more entrepreneurs locally and to help them to think more globally,” according to De Smedt.

A local success story is that of SweepSouth, the Cape Town-based, on-demand cleaning service. In 2015, Startup Grind was approached by leading start-up accelerator 500Startups to recommend successful start-ups from around the world. In turn, the chapter director of Startup Grind Cape Town approached SweepSouth, and after working a few sleepless nights to complete the application, they got into the programme and learnt incredible lessons to expand their network during the 500Startups programme in Silicon Valley.

Startup Grind Johannesburg will be re-launched in June 2016 by co-directors Guillaume de Smedt and Mohamed Chohan. These events will be taking place in the Standard Bank Incubator space in Rosebank.

By attending one of Startup Grind’s South African events, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to hear the success stories from the following speakers:

  • Johannesburg 21 June – Lynette Ntuli from and Innate IS
  • Cape Town 27 June – Yair Shimansky from Shimansky Jewellers
  • KwaZulu-Natal 12 July – Justin Clarke from Private Property
  • Cape Town 25 July – Franz Struwig from iKubu and Garmin



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