Evaluation: GrowthAfrica’s Acceleration of Ventures
GrowthAfrica and Argidius entered into a three-year partnership in 2015. GrowthAfrica’s support was primarily delivered through their accelerator program, which consisted of an intensive six-month phase of workshops delivered to cohorts of ventures, followed by lighter, largely individualized, ongoing support for another 30 months, with all participants committing to share a portion of increased revenue / investment raised / or shares in the business as a result of improved performance. The average revenue of participants prior to entering the program was US$287,651 and the median US$43,500. The cost of support per enterprise was €19k. An evaluation was commissioned in 2017 to assess the results so far of GrowthAfrica’s support to early stage enterprises, and based on the findings provide a set of recommendations and lessons.
- By the end of 2017 (two years into the three year partnership), 63 enterprises had commenced the 36-month long accelerator programme, and the first cohort had received 21 months of support. At this stage:
- 19 ventures (30%) raised almost $2M investment in 2017
- 57 reporting ventures generated incremental revenues of €4.4M (a two-year Return On Total Investment of 3.6)
- 344 full time jobs were created
- However issues with data quality were also identified
- Most participants report GrowthAfrica has contributed to improved entrepreneurs’ capacity (business and leadership skills) and business operations (including clearer direction, value proposition, improved pricing, marketing, and reducing costs), with increased focus helping them refine their business model, better analyze the market and benchmark competitors. 60% (of survey respondents) felt the program had contributed to increased revenue and job creation, and half felt there was at least ‘ a little’ contribution to increased investment.
- Phase II (the 30 months of individual support following the six month phase of workshops) has not been consistently delivered, and there have been difficulties managing the communication around, and enactment of, the revenue share agreements.