Grindstone and Naspers Labs have announced 10 women-led startups selected for GrindstoneX, a women-focused accelerator program in South Africa. Shortlisted companies include Africa Beyond 4IR, Brushproof, Chicken Bar, Four Minute Medicine, Seponono Africa, Abaguequli, Thetha Digital, Tsehla Holdings, Wisi-oi Marketplace and Young Rebels Marketing.
The GrindstoneX accelerator launched in September 2022 with financial support from Naspers Labs. It aims to help more women-founded businesses become scalable, attractive to investors, and exit-ready. It does this by providing interventions based on needs. Interventions may include expert business coaching including business strategy, market entry planning, fundraising preparation and networking, and mentorship and advice from Grindstone alumni companies that have successfully expanded or exited their business.
GrindstoneX shortlisted startups are active in a variety of fields including hydroponics, branding and web development, fashion marketplaces, online education, animation, gaming and digital empowerment with virtual reality. Program Director Nonsebakabaji says all the startups selected for GrindstoneX have one thing in common. That is the ingenuity and drive of female founders.
Learn more about women founders and their businesses:
By bridging the digital divide in South African communities, Africa Beyond 4IR aims to ignite technological advances and entrepreneurship sparks in marginalized communities. There are programs that introduce the community to games, animations, drones, programming, and virtual reality. We also run an incubation program for entrepreneurs using this technology to do business. Kelebogile Molopyane is the founder of Africa Beyond 41R.
Blushproof employs e-commerce and payment technology to empower women through its leak-proof, reusable menstrual panties. Because the products are reusable, women not only save money on menstruation, but they also avoid the environmental pollution caused by non-biodegradable tampons and pads. Blush was founded by Tandy Hartman.
Founded by Asanda Maqbuka, Chicken Bar is a food business riding the wave of health-conscious eating. This restaurant uses an online delivery service to deliver chicken to customers’ doorsteps. The Chicken Bar franchise is also expanding, using computerized pricing and management software to serve franchise owners.
For Minutes Medicine works with a network of specialists, generalists and medical students to provide evidence-based education in medicine. Its online courses support blended and adaptive learning using e-learning to help students accelerate their professional training. Phinda Njisane is the founder of Four Minute Medicine.
Seponono Africa started selling African print headwraps as corporate gifts before evolving into digital branding. We provide brand consulting, brand design, digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) services to companies. The founder of Seponono Africa is Tebogo Petrere.
Abagukli wants to prepare young people for the Fourth Industrial Revolution through access to training, information and opportunities. We offer training on website, mobile app, e-commerce and chatbot development. We also offer education on Arduino electronics, 3D printing, Raspberry, animation, and digital marketing. The founder of Seponono Africa is Arsiya Adams.
Thetha Digital helps companies create engaging educational content for target audiences. This content is in animation, copywriting, narration, video or audio format. The startup has also partnered with Naspers Labs to upskill young people with digital media and his edTech. Yen Zen Xhu is the founder of Thetha Digital.
Agritech startup Tsehla Holdings, founded by Roseline Mapuranga, is in the hydroponics business. The startup provides hydroponic tunnel installation services for individuals and organizations. We also provide training on how to manage and grow crops in hydroponic systems.
Wisi-Oi Marketplace is an e-commerce platform that allows sellers to host online stores of their favorite fashion items. It also facilitates payments and delivers the purchased goods to the buyer. It also gives shoppers the option to buy now and pay later, allowing them to shop on credit with no interest. Phumelele Körber is its founder.
Young Rebels started by providing companies with out-of-the-box public relations services and go-to-market strategies. Today, the company specializes in designing communication and emotion processing games that promote the emotional and mental health of young people. Faith Wesson is the founder of Young Rebels Marketing.