Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


  1. What is the Growth Accelerator Entrepreneurship Challenge? The Growth Accelerator Entrepreneurship Challenge is a 9 months business acceleration targeting impactful and innovative ventures across Malawi and across industries. It will provide financial and business support to the ventures selected through an entrepreneurship challenge.


  1. Who can apply? The program is open to Malawian registered businesses which:

– Should have a product or service that is already on the market or should have a prototype

– Open to collaboration/partnership

– Demonstrate capacity and dedication to scale the business and demonstrate sound financial performance/practices

– Be founded and/or managed by youthful entrepreneurs

– Deliver products, services, and business models that create jobs in their communities.

– Incorporate women and youth as producers, traders, or as consumers or elsewhere along the value chain.

– Looking for financing to scale the venture – willing and able to take commercial matching capital or make own contribution

– Founder should be fulltime involved in the business or plan to be fulltime in the next 6 months.


  1. How does it work? Entrepreneurs will be selected through an innovation challenge. A shortlist of 20 semi-finalists selected among the applicants will submit a full proposal in September 2018. Subsequently they will also go through a training in business modelling and pitching and then submit an improved proposal. An investment panel will then select the 10-12 finalists entering the Growth Accelerator where they will access business advice and financing.The selected entrepreneurs will have an option of private equity or 20% matching grant in-order to access the finances. They will then enter into a 12 months acceleration program that will include:
  • customised business management trainings covering broad topics from business canvass modelling to specifics of developing financial projections, marketing strategies and developing pitches for different audiences.
  • entrepreneurs will be provided 3 months of individualised support building on and expanding on the catalytic support received in between workshops.
  • there will be a parallel stream of 1-2 monthly Business clinic which are around functional or other areas of the business. These make take on more of a tools or skills development aspect.
  • Each venture will be matched to a mentor for the program duration. The mentor will assist the venture in staying on track with action plans and commitments plus provide coaching and support on a personal and leadership level. Ideally this will be done through a weekly meet up of an hour and / or skype call.


  1. How will the applications be submitted? Applications can be done online at or by sending the application form as an attachment to


  1. What is the deadline for submitting the applications? The deadline for submitting applications is 2nd September 2018


  1. How will the submitted applications be judged? The Growth Accelerator team will select an independent Investment panel who will select the winners using the following areas:
  • Product market fit
  • Ability and potential of the business to scale
  • Management capacity of the entrepreneur(s) and team
  • Legal and financial setup
  • Degree of innovation
  • Openness and eagerness to receive external input into the business (incl. investors).
  • Ability to rightly absorb and deploy the grant and other financing.
  • Demonstrate social impact to the community


  1. When will the support start? The technical support will start in November 2018 after the final entrepreneurs have been identified.


  1. What financial capacity do applicants need? The Growth Accelerator is targeting ventures that are already having a product on the market and have already started generating income or which have developed a minimum viable product/service (MVP) or pilot product/service.They need the proper structures to rightly deploy the allocated funding and the ability to learn and implement the learnings in the business.


  1. Who will be involved in selecting the winner? The Growth Accelerator team will select experts from the local entrepreneurship ecosystem and external experts from other countries to be part of the investment panel. The implementing team and their partners will not be involved in the selection.It will be comprised of 5 professionals with a strong business, investment or financing background and will include team member(s) from outside of Malawi. The investment committee is to provide an independent review and assessment of the programme applicants based on the “investment” potential, readiness and returns (commercially focused but also clearly looking at impact).


  1. How much is the financial support for the Growth Accelerator? The minimum limit for request is $10,000 and the maximum is $40,000 in grant capital and which then needs to be matched by commercial capital (debt or equity) or matched with own means.


  1. What does the 20% matching grant mean? Participating entrepreneurs will match the grant with 20% commercial capital from an own contribution which in part would be a cash/in-kind “co-investment”. The grant is a commercially approached matching mechanism providing business centred incentives in support of commercial activities.


  1. What does the private equity option mean? Entrepreneurs who will not choose the 20% matching component will work with Accesserator, a private equity firm from Netherlands who will invest in the venture in exchange of a percentage of the venture.