Growing Business Together (GBT) is a two-year program which aims to promote entrepreneurship among young Ghanaians, offering an opportunity for these entrepreneurs to gain extensive knowledge and skills in building their business, gain access to finance and coaching from experienced Ghanaian and Dutch entrepreneurs. The key components of the Growing Business Together initiative include a 9-month GBT Academy, the GBT Coaches Program and the GBT Startup Investment Conference. There is a parallel project for Ghanaians in Netherlands who seek to start businesses in Ghana. In total we have 20 businesses in the GBT Academy, covering agribusiness, technology, food (catering), services (medical & IT related) and manufacturing (shoes and fabric infused products).
The GBT Academy gives entrepreneurs the chance to receive full support to accelerate their growth. The Academy is a top-up program for the twenty best entrepreneurs that have been selected from the startups in the GBT Coaches Program. Next to one-on-one coaching, the GBT Academy offers them a combination of hands-on, practical advice, master classes and matching with business partners and investors. By the end of the program (one year) the startups should be ready to attract investors into their company.
The GBT Academy program is structured along seven key stages, beginning with an intense 5-day full-time boot camp and midway a one-day startup investment conference. During the phases in between the startups have sessions with their individual business coach and some expert coaches (e.g. branding or logistics) if required; they can attend master classes and networking events that are organized as part of the Academy program. MBC Africa, running the GBT Academy.
We start the academy with an intense five-day boot camp, which covers important skills, such as business modelling, go-to-market strategies, financial modelling, customer relations, and performance monitoring and management. The boot camp gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from each other.
Business Strategy Development
In this six-week phase the entrepreneurs thoroughly review their business models and strategy using the tools and insights from the boot camp. The startups are expected to develop a multi-year business and financial plan, factoring in new growth indicators. The entrepreneurs can use MBC’s online learning platform to facilitate the virtual learning process. On-sight training and workshops are held to provide further support.
In this four-month phase entrepreneurs test their new business strategy plans and growth models on the market. The validation phase is a tailor-made program to validate all assumptions in the business plan. During four months, entrepreneurs receive hands-on support from their business coach, other experts if required and our partners. Our extensive networks will open new opportunities and give access to the right business partners and customers, which is important to get a proof of concept and market. Having a proof of concept and market opens the door to investors who are the audience during the Start Up Investor Conference midway the program. After the conference deal making and legal support is offered to close deals with interested investors.
The entrepreneurs will at least once a month have plenary activities, such as master classes, meet-ups at the Dutch embassy with relevant visitors from the Netherlands and the monthly networking drinks.
At end of the validation phase the entrepreneurs participate in a one-week Business Pitch training module. You learn how to prepare a winning pitch deck, the art of pitching, understanding the investors’ mindsets and practice mock pitches among experts, mentors, investors and your peers who give their feedback. The businesses are then given a couple of weeks to prepare their investor pitch decks and get ready to pitch during the Start Up Investor Conference.
For more information on the GBT program, click here