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Startwise – helping small businesses to start well

Meet the Absa Small Business Friday featured Small Business of the week – Startwise.

Startwise’s mission is to help the next generation of entrepreneurs build successful start-ups by giving them access to leading industry business experts in South Africa. This platform offers an on-demand web-based application that matches entrepreneurs with experienced business mentors and industry professionals in South Africa. The platform is geared towards adding value by providing much-needed mentorship and business advice to help boost the growth of SMEs and small businesses.

Startwise is committed to working with their mentors to create valuable business resources and content, and to proactively support the mentorship journey of their community with shared knowledge and value-added services.

Velly Bosega started Startwise because of the struggles he faced when launching new products or businesses. Having struggled for months, or sometimes years, to do research and learn about new business ventures and models, he decided to build a community of entrepreneurs. His entrepreneurial journey into other businesses and related platforms eventually lead to the idea of building an innovative platform where entrepreneurs can search for the industry topics they need whilst finding experienced business professionals at the same time and connecting with them in a matter of minutes.

When asked why he started this business Velly explained, “I want to help other small businesses with the challenges that I faced when starting my first business. This is why SME South Africa and Startwise were created. These companies address specific challenges I faced when starting Adclick Africa. As an entrepreneur, it is important to be hungry for knowledge. You won’t always have all the answers but you can learn from your employees, clients, mentors, books and most importantly, mistakes.”

Startwise is the first and only on-demand business advisory platform in South Africa that connects both mentors and mentees in real time, at their convenience. Other mentorship programmes in South Africa are either limited geographically or niche based. This platform allows any start-up to seek advice from vetted and verified mentors.

The web-based application allows business owners to schedule a strategic advisory session without leaving their place of work. Working remotely and receiving on-demand services saves businesses time and money. It also gives them more time to improve their decision-making process since they can apply what they have learnt immediately.

By 2030, Startwise wants to connect 1 million small businesses with over 100,000 business mentors. Their mentorship platform aims to achieve this by scaling up their community to better support entrepreneurs and start-ups, helping them to grow their businesses or products faster, cost-effectively, and on demand. Furthermore, they want to expand into the African economy with a focus on Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and Egypt.

Velly believes that the growth and success of small businesses is vital. He explains, “Small businesses are the future of the country. A study done by The Small Business Institute states that over 98% of economic transformation and job creation comes from small businesses. With growth in the small business sector, South Africa can become a thriving entrepreneurial nation.”

Startwise was crowned the National Start-up Champion for 2022 at the South African Small Business Awards and is a proud Member of the NSBC.

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