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Venture capitalist Vusi Thembekwayo has extended his #Top40 mentorship programme to mentor black entrepreneurs, after his investment company MyGrowthFund received an “overwhelming” response from entrepreneurs.
In a press release to Ventureburn, MyGrowthFund announced the new due date as 7 June at 12pm.
The competition, which opened for applications on 15 May and was to close on 31 May, has to date received 1,100 applications.
The programme is open to black entrepreneurs with companies that generate at least R1 million in annual revenue and are looking to grow.
The 40 selected participants are expected to announced at the end of June. They will then undergo an 18 month mentorship programme with Thembekwayo and a group of professionals who specialise in finance, marketing, human resource (HR) and information technology (IT).
‘The high quality of applications is testament that entrepreneurship is thriving in South Africa’
He said these include 11 marketing firms, seven accountants and HR firms and four legal firms to provide support.
“The high quality of applications is testament that entrepreneurship is thriving in South Africa and will mentorship we can scale new heights,” he said.
Ventureburn asked Thembekwayo why he opted for the name “#Top 40” when the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) is also assisting 40 fast-growing companies through its National Gazelles programme.
In an emailed response he said the name came from the number of participants the programme will take based on his company’s capacity, capital and time. “Forty we found was a good number to work with – small enough to be intimate but still be able to make an impact,” he added.
He said applications are open to all entrepreneurs across the country that meet the programme’s application criteria, and not just those based in Gauteng.
Thembekwayo has put in R10-million of his own personal money and said he will avail another R40-million sourced from enterprise development funds under the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) codes.
And what does Thembekwayo see as the biggest hurdles facing black entrepreneurs?
“Mentorship, mentorship, mentorship, mentorship, mentorship and one more — mentorship. There are phenomenal entrepreneurs out there with amazing potential but need that help to get to the next level. We have applications from guys with an annual turnover of R30m, R122m but just need help leap to the next growth spurt of their businesses.”
Applications close on 7th June 2017 at 12:00. Click here to apply.