#Africa WDB Investment Holdings increases stake in SA’s Seed Engine to 51%


WDB Investment Holdings has increased its stake in Seed Engine – incorporating Seed Academy and the WDB Seed Fund – from 35 per cent to 51 per cent, officially confirming Seed Engine as a black women-owned company.

Disrupt Africa reported in July of last year South Africa’s WDB Investment Holdings and venture capital company Grovest had taken stakes in local ICT incubator Seed Engine, in a bid to help develop South Africa’s economy through entrepreneurial businesses.

This was followed in August by the launch of the WDB Seed Fund, aimed at filling the funding gap for early-stage startups and offering significant tax advantages and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) points to corporate investors.

Grovest remains Seed Engine’s second major shareholder with a 30 per cent stake, with WDB saying the increased share underscored the long-standing relationship between WDB and Seed Engine, as well as their joint commitment to the transformation of the South African economy through the development of black women and youth entrepreneurs.

Donna Rachelson, chief executive officer (CEO) of Seed Engine, said WDB’s impeccable track record of fast-tracking women entrepreneurs speaks for itself.

“We know that growing entrepreneurship is one of the biggest challenges facing our country. We also know that the development of women entrepreneurs is an even greater challenge as only one in three entrepreneurs are women and only 38 per cent of black women-owned businesses are formally funded,” she said.

“WDB and Seed Engine are focused on making a meaningful impact by supporting entrepreneurs who are resilient and able to build sustainable businesses that create jobs.”

The WDB Seed Fund provides access to funds, markets, high level mentorship and business support to investee companies, whilst simultaneously offering significant tax benefits for corporate and individual investors.

Faith Khanyile, CEO of WDB Investment Holdings, said the partnership served both the business and social agenda of WDB in promoting true socio-economic transformation to ensure women are economically self-reliant.

“WDBIH’s increased investment in Seed Engine comes from a well-established strategic partnership and we are confident that our shared vision will continue to provide strong leadership and advocacy for female entrepreneurs,” she said.

“We are fully confident that our mission of ensuring even more women are equipped to compete successfully in the South African economy will come to full fruition. The fact that women entrepreneurs are currently underrepresented in relation to the population is something we aim to change one success story at a time.”

The transaction comes after the recent conclusion of the inaugural and highly successful AccelerateHer programme, a three-month business accelerator for female entrepreneurs that was a joint initiative of WDB and Seed Academy to create a pipeline for the WDB Seed Fund.

“Constructively engaging women entrepreneurs is critical to supporting economic growth. Women entrepreneurs support and uplift their families, their communities, and have the power to profoundly uplift South Africa as a whole,” said Rachelson.

The post WDB Investment Holdings increases stake in SA’s Seed Engine to 51% appeared first on Disrupt Africa.

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