Viridian works across three key pillars in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our years of expertise, the partnerships we’ve established, and our ability to design adaptable, sustainable and scalable programmes within these stakeholder groups enable the impact we desire to see on the African continent.
We capacitate and connect entrepreneur support organisations and hubs through training, toolkit design and developing a community of practice.
We train and network emerging angel investors across the continent to accelerate their investing and form collaborations.
We provide hands-on support for potentially fast-growing, early-stage African businesses, with a focus on readiness for funding and investment.
The Launch League initiative was established by Viridian and the UK-South Africa Tech Hub in early 2020 to create opportunities for teams from South Africa’s hubs and ESOs to grow their skills, access quality resources, and connect with each other as a community of practice. By connecting and capacitating these organisations, Launch League enables the development of local entrepreneurial ecosystems, creating more opportunities for South Africans to start or grow a business and earn an income. To date, the programme has reached 160+ hubs in all 9 provinces in South Africa through trainings and events.
The African Angel Academy (AAA) was established in early 2020 to grow the number of angel investors on the continent to catalyse and grow Africa’s early-stage investing and startup ecosystems. After running a successful pilot with 50 new angel investors from five Southern African countries, the need was clearly established: African angel investors play a critical role in the economic development of local startup markets.
Since the pilot, other prominent partners have come on board to scale AAA delivery into other markets, optimising the online course for individual consumers and partnering with leading development financiers and ecosystem enablers to run bespoke programmes for Africa’s emerging angel investors. AAA is designed and delivered by Viridian and ViKtoria Ventures, with the endorsement of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN). To date, 480 angel investors from across the African continent have been trained
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is a 6-month programme for early-stage engineering entrepreneurs. With a strong focus on investment readiness, the programme allows entrepreneurs to design their own learning paths and access over 20 subject matter experts from across the continent for individual consultations. Viridian has delivered the Africa Prize programme for the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2021 and 2022.
The development and design of two startup playbooks aimed at African hubs looking to support new businesses tackling issues of sexual and reproductive health, commissioned by the United Nations Population Fund.
The Make-IT in Africa Open Innovation Program toolkit is a model and guide for innovation support organizations (ISOs) to leverage to design and run programs that promote collaboration between small and growing businesses, and your local private or public sector.
Led by the Make-IT in Africa initiative and supported by GIZ, OceanHub Africa in partnership with Viridian is spearheading this 7-month support program dedicated to building the capacity of Innovation Support Organisations (ISOs) in designing and implementing innovation programs focused on ocean impact.
Viridian has been a close strategic partner of the V&A Waterfront’s small business, innovation and social impact teams for many years. We supported the team in designing and implementing compassionate responses to the Covid-19 lock-downs; an approach which saw the V&A Waterfront win a Global Award at the World Responsible Tourism Awards in late 2021. This responsive approach has now become a permanent programme, providing foundational business support to more than 350 small businesses across the precinct.
Selection, training and mentoring of innovation hubs with the potential to become climate change incubators from nine West African and Francophone countries. Includes the production of a Playbook that will scale lessons learned. Delivered in collaboration with Moroccan green energy experts, IRESEN.
This pilot explored how to take startup entrepreneurs about to receive their first cheque from investment readiness to investment raising. Startups pitching to angels learned about the investor mindset, investment process, and how to plan their own growth and investment journeys. Funded by UK-Nigeria Tech Hub.
Let’s Talk Financing is an open-licence toolkit that enables entrepreneur support organisations to have productive, entrepreneur-led conversations about funding options with the business owners they are supporting. Developed with the support of the UK-South Africa Tech Hub, train-the-trainer support was rolled out beyond RSA’s borders to 15 hubs in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania in early 2022, funded by SAIS2.
Strategic Foresight, a practice that allows individuals and organisations to better anticipate future changes, and to come up with new ways to work through challenges and leverage emerging opportunities. This online short course, funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs through SAIS2, was delivered to municipalities and hubs in five SADEC countries. (Scroll down on the link to access the training videos and manual.)
When Covid-19 and the related lock-down hit, small businesses were blindsided. This emergency coaching project, funded by UK-South Africa Tech Hub, had to a two-pronged approach to immediate support in mid-2020, offering 25 small business owners access to leadership/personal wellness coaches (Factor10) together with experienced SME accountants (The Beancounters), to quickly tackle their most pressing problems.
An in-depth, open-license guide for innovation organisations on how to conceptualise, market, plan, execute and evaluate a challenge competition, with a piloting component. Includes case studies. Developed as part of the Finnish Ministry’s SAIS programme’s Connected Hubs initiative.
Viridian’s first online short course was aimed at encouraging angel investment and educating investment-ready startups, and focuses on the South African ecosystem. The seven animated modules are complemented by interviews with 20 of Cape Town’s top investors and startup entrepreneurs. The course was funded by the Western Cape Provincial Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT).
A five-day idea-to-business-model challenged, delivered online and through Facebook Live, culminating in a virtual TechFest, sharing inormation on tech tools that support business growth. Nearly 1500 entrepreneurs took part in the challenge and more than 600 attended TechFest. Delivered in collaboration with Future Females and funded by the UK-South Africa Tech Hub.