Earlier this month Endeavor Egypt team member Farah Safwat returned to Cairo after spending six weeks in Johannesburg taking part in a special program at Endeavor Egypt’s sister office Endeavor South Africa.
This program, the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), is an initiative of the SA SME Fund’s CEO Circle in partnership with Endeavor South Africa, that aims to support black entrepreneurship in the country. It was launched earlier in the year when Discovery CEO and Endeavor South Africa patron board member, Adrian Gore, announced that Big Business in South Africa is launching a new initiative aimed at deliberately accelerating the expansion of ten established black-owned companies into “substantial” enterprises with a value in excess of R500-million within five years.
"What we are trying to do is create a system where, if we come across a great company that has potential to scale, we would like to bring them to our shareholders. We want to match the appropriate company with the appropriate set of shareholder companies and ask the CEOs to commit to helping promote that organisation in their supply chains," explained Adrian Gore as reported in Entrepreneur.
Endeavor South Africa, drawing on its global leadership in enterprise development and scaling-up expertise, is overseeing the process of identifying and selecting the candidates from the applications received. Eligible companies are black-owned enterprises, with yearly revenues of R50-million or more, and with a five-year record of growing at an annual rate above 20%.
“The Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) initiative is helping black entrepreneurs gain more exposure and access to the high-level mentorship needed in order for them to grow and scale, creating healthy competition as well as greater equality in the entrepreneurship ecosystem,” reflects Farah on the program’s impact.
Farah was one of four portfolio managers working supporting Endeavor South Africa and working on the project mandated with identifying and selecting companies from a shortlisted pool of 140+ candidates and managing the entire selection process. Over the span of six-weeks 50+ interviews were conducted and detailed and thorough company profiles were prepared, all culminating into 30+ review panels led by industry experts. Successful candidates will then progress to the CEO Circle panel where the inaugural cohort of between five to 10 companies will be chosen.
Selected companies at the end of the program are to receive a “personalised pathway” to scale through access to capital and markets. They will be integrated into SA SME Fund’s shareholders’ supply chains, and be matched with C-Suite mentors.
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