Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the year 2020 there were some highs we can celebrate. Growth Accelerator is a business acceleration programme that supports with post-revenue high impact businesses to grow and scale. The programme provides access to  co-financing facility of up to USD40,000, mentorship and technical assistance. The programme was launched in 2018 with the aim of bridging the gap between small local business and large, foreign owned businesses by promoting sustainable and accelerated growth in these small businesses. The year 2020 has been challenging but it has also been a year of learning, innovating and serving the entrepreneurship ecosystem – below are some of our notable highs:

Growth Accelerator supported an additional 25+ businesses:  In 2020, Growth Accelerator increased the financing bracket by introducing two programmes that served over 25 businesses in various sectors. The programme launched the COVID19 Special window in April 2020 and the COVID19 Tourism Entrepreneurship Challenge in the second half of the year. Both programmes offered up to USD40,000 in financing for each contracted business. The programmes aimed to manage the adverse effects of COVID19 in Malawi by supporting private sector activity that would contribute towards job retention and creation, import substitution, domestic tourism and overall business growth and sustainability. The Growth Accelerator Programme doubled the number of ventures it has supported in its second year – being able to support more entrepreneurs is a definite highlight.

The programme implemented a strategic COVID19 response:Growth Accelerator launched two programmes in response to COVID19 that promoted already existing products and services that assisted in the management and prevention of COVID19 in Malawi. These included products such as: hand sanitizers, masks production, hand wash and other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Materials. This was particularly important as importation of these key prevention items was restricted due to closing of boarders to curb the spread of the virus. The programme also supported services such as: delivery services, media production and counseling and/or therapy. The programme promoted the local industry whilst actively creating long-lasting solutions that would mitigate the impact of COVID19 in Malawi.

All ventures are operational: It is no easy task to run a business during the COVID19 pandemic. With millions of small businesses that have been closed around the globe the emotions for entrepreneurs where running high. We celebrate that all the Growth Accelerator ventures are operational and some recording growth due to innovative pivot strategies that sustained revenues during this challenging time. Some such ventures are: Mothers Choice, JAT Investments and Adah Seasonal Farms – all food providers that intensified door-to-door delivery services providing customers with their products even through the pandemic. Some ventures leveraged on their staff knowledge to create additional products and/services to serve the new needs that arose; for example – Warm Heart Children’s Therapy and Wellness started providing therapy sessions for victims, survivors and families of individuals affected by COVID19; similarly, Apex Medical Laboratories started offering private COVID19 testing to the general public; and Zomba Private Ambulances upgraded their services to accommodate COVID19 related emergencies.

Growth Accelerator cohorts are composed of ventures from different sectors such as: health, construction, waste management, manufacturing, agriculture and etc. These ventures have cumulatively employed over 200+ individuals since joining the programme and support value chains of over 6,000 people – most of which are low-income individuals in rural areas.

For more highlights on the highs and impact stories of growth accelerator visit our impact page HERE.