Our incubation program at Villgro Africa offers customised support to startups, taking them from simply having a good idea to a place where they are ready for investment and scaling. So what are we looking for when it comes to accepting applicants into our program? We don’t expect you to have everything figured out, but there are a few building blocks that demonstrate that you have the potential to succeed.
Rob Beyer is Villgro Africa’s Co-Founder and Executive Chairman. He has years of experience helping business grow and takes a hands-on role in evaluating applications that come in for the incubation program. Here are a few tips from him on what can make your application stand out.
We invest in people first and ideas second. We want to find people who are “investable.” This means that your team, especially the leadership, should demonstrate commitment to the initiative and show that you have the potential to take the idea forward. We like to see applicants who have more than one founder and a founding team that is diverse, both in the skills and experiences they bring to the table. Leadership teams that have both men and women and both entrepreneurial and technical experience are more likely to succeed.
Show us that you understand the problem you're addressing and how your solution fits within the value chain. Have you done the work to understand your target market? Are you sure that what you're offering actually meets their needs? Are you aware of your potential competitors and what makes your solution stand out? You should demonstrate the value your solution offers within the larger context.
Although we are, of course, interested in social impact, your venture also needs to have a viable business case. Ultimately, the incubation program is for startups that have the potential to produce returns -- both impact and financial returns. We are looking for sustainable ventures that will survive and grow in the market.
Applicants to the Villgro Africa incubation program are not required to have everything figured out. The purpose of the program is to provide incubatees with the resources and advice they need to succeed. However, the market -- and even the incubation program itself -- are competitive. Therefore, it is essential to communicate your vision in a compelling way. Help us understand the reasons why your innovation is important.