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    HomePartner ContentMeet the Female-led Startups Selected for GrindstoneX Accelerator Program

    Meet the Female-led Startups Selected for GrindstoneX Accelerator Program

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    Grindstone, a South African entrepreneurship development program, has partnered with Naspers Labs to empower women in tech. The GrindstoneX accelerator program supports female-founded startups by providing resources and mentorship to help them scale and achieve sustainability.

    Cultivating Homegrown Talent

    Since October 2022, GrindstoneX has supported 19 female founders across two cohorts. The program focuses on high-growth, innovative companies led by women. “Witnessing the progress of these entrepreneurs is inspiring,” said Ashika Kirpal, director of transformation and Naspers Labs at Naspers. “GrindstoneX tackles the funding and skills gap faced by female-led businesses, fostering a more equitable tech sector.”

    Second Cohort Sees Success

    The recently graduated second cohort consisted of nine tech-driven startups from various industries including agriculture technology, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, and education technology. These businesses achieved impressive results:

    • R3 million increase in funding secured
    • R665,000 increase in revenue
    • 7% compound annual growth rate
    • Creation of 13 new jobs

    Diversity and Inclusion Take Center Stage

    GrindstoneX is committed to promoting diversity in the tech space. All nine graduating startups were 100% black and female-founded, contributing to a more inclusive entrepreneurial landscape.

    Program Benefits

    GrindstoneX provided participants with a comprehensive support system:

    • Thinkubate Online Training: Founders honed their business acumen through online courses.
    • Personalized Coaching: Each startup received tailored coaching to address specific needs identified through assessments.
    • Enhanced Online Presence: Experts helped startups develop a strong online presence.
    • PR and Social Media Training: Participants gained valuable skills to promote their businesses effectively.
    • Cash Prizes: Naspers Labs awarded cash prizes to top performers, with the first-place winner receiving R100,000.

    Success Stories

    Bertha Kgokong, founder of MobileGPT, a WhatsApp-based AI chatbot platform, shared her experience: “The program helped me discover a business-to-business revenue stream. We secured two clients for custom AI chatbots.”

    Looking Ahead

    GrindstoneX is making a significant impact. “The partnership with Naspers Labs has empowered 19 female-founded businesses,” stated Catherine Young, managing partner of Grindstone and Grindstone Ventures. “We are excited to see the continued growth of the GrindstoneX program and the success of these inspiring female techpreneurs.”

    The Graduating Startups

    The following startups graduated from the GrindstoneX accelerator program:

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