Increasing market traction is the key ingredient offered by an incubation programme initiated by the founders of the iconic South African businesses such as Daddy Long Legs, the Grand Daddy, The Old Biscuit Mill, The Woodstock Exchange and Daddy’s Deals.
The Daddy’s Dragons business school and incubator in the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, Cape Town offers mentorship, market-readiness, networks and free infrastructure.
Paul Dalton, incubation director, says there is no prescribed amount or formula for participation.
“Where funding is required this can be raised through our own private equity fund or through various partners which include crowd funding.
In most cases funding will be earmarked for the specific purposes of filling the order books so that the business becomes self-sustaining, or to provide capacity, but this may be tweaked on a case-by-case basis.”
Startup businesses are welcome and the programme is not restricted to any sector.
“But we do take into account whether we can offer appropriate skills and mentorship either ourselves or through our extended network, before making any commitments to incubation,” says Dalton.
Business owners are en-couraged to submit their business plans. Ideally the business’s product or service should have had some initial market traction so that the Daddy’s Dragons team may be able to learn from and adapt to the market responses.
“Almost more importantly though, we need to believe that we can add significant value to the entrepreneur, be it finance, business connections, guidance and skills transfer or a combination of these. With our help these businesses must move into the next league,” adds Dalton.
To be considered for the programme, business owners need to attend a two-day crash course workshop where they will be assisted with an individualised and detailed plan to develop consistent and growing income streams. Entry to the workshop is subject to a fee. Since starting in July this year, about 60 people have attended the crash course workshops.
Says Dalton: “We have only very recently contracted the first of these (entrepreneurs from the workshops) for incubation. Its early days but we are in the process of contracting a few more. Our aim is to contract at least 10 in the first year.”
The planned incubation period is three years.
He says they are opposed to the current trend of competition style incubators, where only a few applicants are selected and the remainder ignored.
“This winner takes all approach doesn’t fit that well with us and is sending the wrong message about what is takes to be an entrepreneur.”
For this reason they created an offering open to all.
“If you are not selected as an ‘incubatee’ right away, you can still access our services.
We back this with money-back guarantees,” says Dalton.
Other services include an entrepreneurial support programme and a consultancy programme for businesses that struggling to grow. Business owners selected for incubation do not pay for this support and receive free Daddy’s World benefits such as infrastructure and free retreats at their hotels.
The mentorship is provided by Jody Aufrichtig, Nick Ferguson, Barry Harlen and Paul Dalton.
- For more information, go to www.daddysdragons.co.za