As part of the support offered to entrepreneurs, Growth Accelerator offers six-months of business development technical support. These are a series of interrelated workshops that require entrepreneurs to take an analytical look at the core elements of their business such as: their customers and markets; and how to create and deliver value. The aim of these workshops is to strategically guide entrepreneurs to think around their business, identify gaps and develop a three-year growth plan that addresses those gaps in a measurable and time-bound manner.

This workshop focused on the business finances and took entrepreneurs into journey of breaking down their costs, revenues and cash flows. The entrepreneurs analyzed their business’ financial architecture of to understand how money moved between their revenue, costs and profit. These reflections are key to effectively managing business costs and cash-flow which leads to a steady and sustainable growth trajectory. The programme believes that long-lasting impact is the mindset shift, learning frameworks and tools that help entrepreneurs run their business beyond the programme.

Below are some insights shared from entrepreneurs during the workshop.

We took a long and hard look at our customer acquisition cost. This concept was entirely foreign to me. Understanding how much it costs to get a customer, the lifetime value of that customer; and how much it costs your business was an enlightening experience. I believe I will take on marketing expenses and efforts in a more conscious manner from now on with the insight gained from this workshop” – Chikondi Michongwe, Founder Afrocentric Lifestyle

Afrocentric Lifestyle aims to celebrate, (co)create and preserve African heritage by using bamboo and salvaged wood to create inspired bespoke furniture, and arts and crafts pieces. This innovative start-up brings together a range of local artisans that collaborate to create unique pieces that compliment and add signature African touches to the intimate living spaces of their customers.

It was a reflective process. This financial modelling has helped us analyze the way expenses are accumulated and plan ahead for a reservoir. We are a service based business and most of our expenses bunched up at the end or the beginning of the month. Through the peer to peer session during the workshop, we acquired some practical suggestion have been shared that are worth the try. It has been good understanding how we can get out of a stressful situation every month end” – Tinashe Mapingure, Founder and Occupational Therapist at Warm Heart Children’s Therapy and Wellness

Warm Heart is a pediatric medical rehabilitation center established to assist Early Childhood Development (ECD) through healthcare, education and nutritional services using a multi-disciplinary approach at private and community level. Warm Heart’s founder has a heart for children and the community and plans to make these services available in rural areas through a hybrid service delivery model that would allow the venture to competitively price what would otherwise be an offering out of the reach of the rural masses.

There are some hidden costs we did not put into consideration, that have been unearthed during this process. I plan on taking the tools shared back to my office to work with my team on solidifying the unit costs to ensure we do not miss anything in our costing structure. It has been a motivating experience to understand the figures in the business and not leave everything to the accountant.” – Frank Washoni, Founder Hortinet Foods Limited

Hortinet Foods is a Malawian horticultural enterprise that plies its trade in the banana value chain. The venture owes its provenance to the founder’s deep-seated desire to curb – and eventually substitute – the country’s over reliance on imported bananas. Hortinet combines the management of a large commercial-scale farm as well as the incorporation of out-grower groups of smallholder farmers, a business model which allows it to meet its burgeoning demand from the hospitality and retail sectors.

I have never looked at my finances the way I have today. It has been challenging in a good way. I make a product for low-income users and thus need to clearly understand my costing to ensure I do not under-cut myself. The unit cost is important“. – Trinitas Kunashe – Founder of Tina Pads

Tina Pads is a social enterprise that produces re-usable cloth sanitary pads for women and girls. Tina Pads targets low-income women and schoolgirls to provide an affordable alternative to the synthetic single-use sanitary pad. Tina Pads, with support from the Growth Accelerator programme, plans to procure machinery to increase production and conduct a marketing campaign to improve awareness of the benefits of adopting their reusable sanitary pads. Tina Pads vision is to support women and girls in their hygiene and thus enabling them to be more active and confidence individuals, especially by curbing the latters’ absences from school during their menses as a result of not being able to afford a dignified alternative to the mainstream offerings.

Growth Accelerator Malawi is a business acceleration programme for post-revenue high impact businesses that supports entrepreneurs with financing of up to USD40,000, mentorship and business development technical assistance. The programme aims to support Malawian businesses to sustainably grow and contribute towards Malawi’s socio-economic development. Since 2018, the programme has supported 23 businesses that have created more than 60 jobs and supported value chains of more than 3,000 people.