WDB Investment Holdings, Grovest aquire stakes in Seed Engine

Seed Engine has announced that WDB Investment Holdings (WDB) and VC firm Grovest have acquired stakes of 30% and 27.5% respectively in the accelerator.

Seed Engine includes entrepreneurial programme, Seed Academy.

“We needed a strategic partner that would instantly allow us to scale up our efforts around entrepreneurship in SA, especially amongst women,” writes CEO of WDB Faith Khanyile in a press release to Ventureburn.

“Seed Engine was one of the first ICT accelerators in this country, and this dynamic for-profit social enterprise is now supporting the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem from startup through to supplier,” she continues.

Speaking on the acquisition, CEO of Seed Engine Donna Rachelson says, “It will help unlock well-known barriers the small business sector faces, like access to markets and access to funding.”

“The BEE deals of the past are no longer relevant. We want to create genuine mechanisms to expand SA’s ‘missing middle’. There is no doubt, that the investment by a black-owned entity focused on impact investments will cement Seed Academy’s position in enterprise and supplier development in South Africa,” says Rachelson.

According to Khanyile, WDB is likely to acquire a further 21% of Seed Engine in the future.

Read more: 7 key lessons I’ve learnt about raising capital from VCs [Part 1]

“Our investment is likely to increase to 51% and as a women’s company, we have an appropriate bias towards empowering female entrepreneurs and being a meaningful active investor. The partnership serves both the business and social agenda of WDB,” she writes.

Seed Engine has a focus on youth and black women-owned businesses. The programme has trained 600 entrepreneurs and supported 300 enterprises.

WDB incorporates both WDB Trust and WDB Holdings. The company has granted loans valued at more than R400-million to over 180 000 rural women, given literacy and basic skill training to 3000 women, and created over 300 permanent jobs since its inception.

“Through the WDB and Grovest we will be able to tap into corporate and government relationships and networks that will help Seed Engine reach deeper into the communities and sectors that need the most urgent support,” continues Rachelson.

“More than ever before, there is an urgency for young South Africans and female entrepreneurs in particular to be assisted in taking their ideas forward and build businesses. Our young people need jobs, and we need to help them create jobs for themselves, their families, and their communities,” concludes Khanyile.



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